The need for dental procedures to be performed on the special children in our lives can play stress not only on the child but also on the parent or guardian who accompanies them during the procedure. New sensations, noises and smells can make children with sensory processing disorders resist the dentist. In order to assist these children and their parents in a calm and relaxed dental procedure we offer dental sedation.
Dental sedation refers to the various kinds of medications that can be administered in order to induce a calm and relaxed state. Even children who are not actively afraid of the dentist can have trouble sitting still during long procedures that require minimal movement on the part of the patient. Sedation offers a safe and reliable method for managing anxiety and restlessness.
Types of Sedation
Sedation can be offered in various forms including oral medications taken by tablet or liquid form, nitrous oxide gas referred to as laughing gas, or deeper methods of sedation used during dental surgeries or when circumstances prevent procedures from being effectively performed on children in a waking state.
In their oral form, benzodiazepines are used to promote calm and to induce a drowsy state, which limits your child’s compulsion to move during the procedure or to feel unnecessary amount of stress. Dentists have safely used benzodiazepines for many years with great success. Your dentist has been trained in the appropriate use and dosage of benzodiazepines to assist in your child’s comfort. Oral benzodiazepines offer anti-anxiety anti-seizure and muscle relaxant properties while also inducing sleep or drowsiness.
Laughing gas may be utilized to further assist in the sedation process. Laughing gas is made from nitrous oxide gas and is delivered to the patient in the form of a gas mixed with oxygen which can be inhaled through a face mask. The benefits of using laughing gas in dentistry are numerous, since it has an onset of as little as 20 seconds and dissipates from the system in a matter of minutes without leaving any residual effect on the organs. Laughing gas induces a feeling of euphoria and is very effective for calming the nervous feelings that a patient may encounter during a dental procedure.
More Complex Cases or Procedures
For more complex cases or more invasive procedures, we offered general sedation in our oral surgery unit. Patients undergoing general sedation are actively monitored by a team of professionals including an anesthesiologist who will ensure that oxygen levels, breathing and heart rate are maintained at safe levels throughout the procedure. General anesthetic requires more time to leave the system then nitrous oxide or oral sedation. If your child is undergoing general anesthesia your dental professional will instruct you about what to expect following the procedure. It will be necessary to continue to monitor your child throughout the day until the effects of the general anesthetic have dissipated.
If your child is scheduled to receive general anesthetic, a member of our dental care team will provide you with instructions about how to prepare for their procedure. This typically involves abstaining from eating or drinking for a period of time prior to the procedure. If your child is experiencing chest congestion or signs of fever or infection. it is important to let your dentist know prior to the procedure so that he or she can make a determination about whether it is appropriate to continue with the procedure. It is important to follow your dentist’s directions as to any antibiotic medications that may be prescribed in the days leading up to a procedure, or in the days following one.
Is Sedation Necessary?
Most children undergoing procedures do not require sedation. Our practice places great emphasis on staying abreast of developments in the area of pediatric psychology as it relates to managing anxiety/ we also rely upon go-to techniques that have stood the test of time in helping children overcome anxiety during a dental visit. Our goal is always to ensure the comfort of our patients. You can expect that we will take our time to ensure that your child has a positive experience at the dentist and that their bravery is celebrated and praised.
In most cases, you will be within view of your child at all times in order to provide them reassurance in the form of a smile or by holding their hand if they need it. When parents discuss the dentist in a positive light, children are more likely to be receptive to dental treatments. As such, we encourage parents to celebrate their child’s efforts at oral hygiene and encourage them to make healthy food choices so that each visit to the dentist closes with a big high five. Our aim is always to provide services with as little intervention as possible, however, we understand the occasional need to utilize sedation in order to facilitate patient comfort.
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