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Is Sedation Dentistry Safe for Your Kids?

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A young girl is donning a sedation mask as she undergoes a dental examination administered by a female dentist.

Sedation dentistry may seem scary at first, but it’s just a special type of dentistry that uses medication to help keep you relaxed during a dental procedure. There are several different types, each working in their own unique way. However, they all have 1 thing in common: they’re designed to make the dentist’s chair a more comfortable place. But many people find themselves wondering, “Is sedation dentistry safe for kids?”

Sedation dentistry is completely safe for children. The doses are specifically calculated for your child, and dentists who offer this service have received specific training for administering it. They’ll take care of your child so they can stay relaxed throughout the procedure.

Are There Different Types of Dental Sedation?

When it comes to sedation dentistry, there’s no one-size-fits-all situation. There are several different types, each aiming to make the experience easier for your little one. Typically, 1 of 3 methods will be used:

  • Oral sedation
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Intravenous sedation

Oral Sedation

When a dentist determines that oral sedation is the way to go, the process can be simple. They’ll give your child an oral medication—either in pill or liquid form—that’s designed to help them relax. Once this medication is in their system, the dentist can begin. This type of sedation doesn’t knock your child out. Instead, it just helps them relax.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, commonly referred to as laughing gas, is a gas delivered through a special mask. Your child breathes this gas in, and once it takes, they may start to feel calm and relaxed. Nitrous oxide is considered safe to use. It can help your child manage pain or discomfort they may be feeling, and it’s quick to leave their system after the appointment. 

Intravenous Sedation

Intravenous sedation, or IV sedation, is a type of sedation used for more advanced procedures. The sedative is delivered directly into a vein, typically near the back of the hand.

Because the sedatives are inserted directly into the bloodstream, they take effect quickly. Once administered, your child may feel much more relaxed, and they may even take a nap throughout the appointment. The dentist will monitor things while performing the dental work so your child is completely safe.

Though it may look uncomfortable, your child won’t feel anything more than a tiny prick once the IV is inserted. Most people report that it feels just like a light pinch. 

A female child is in a sedated state, wearing a sedation mask, as she undergoes a dental cleaning administered by a woman dentist.

Are Children Safe During Sedation Dentistry?

As a parent, it’s perfectly natural to be worried about your child’s safety. Your child’s safety is the most important thing to the dentist. Before any type of sedation is given, they’ll examine your child’s medical history to verify whether it’s safe or not. This helps them rule out any potential reactions to a particular sedative.

Along with this, the dentist will carefully calculate the dose according to your child’s:

  • Weight
  • Age
  • Medical status

During the procedure, the dentist is going to monitor your child’s vital signs. They’ll keep an eye on your child’s:

  • Heart rate
  • Blood pressure
  • Oxygen levels
  • Breathing

Your child’s dentist will also monitor their recovery after the procedure. 

Are There Side Effects to Sedation Dentistry?

Like any medical treatment, sedation dentistry can have some side effects. Fortunately, these are all typically mild. Your child may experience:

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • A dry mouth
  • Minor lightheadedness
  • Difficulty concentrating or feeling “out of it”

They’ll also likely have some difficulty remembering the procedure. Other than that, most symptoms recede as the sedatives wear off!

Preparing Your Child for Sedation Dentistry

Even though dental care is a routine practice, many children feel apprehensive about visiting the dentist. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to get them more excited about the visit.

It’s all about communication, so try:

  • Letting them know what to expect and reassuring them that it’ll be pain-free and comfortable
  • Introducing them to the dentist beforehand so they can feel more comfortable
  • Staying calm and positive
  • Letting them bring in their favourite toy so they’re more comfortable
  • Involve them in the decision-making where possible—maybe they can pick the music on the drive in, or a treat on the way home

This can help make your child feel more in control of the situation, and it can make the entire situation much more comfortable. 

Come Meet Our Team

If sedation dentistry is new to you, we understand that you may have questions. Our team at Bloom Orthodontics is here to help your child feel comfortable while they get the dental care they need. We’d love to hear from you and your child, so schedule an appointment with us today!

Written by Bloom Dentistry

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