dentist working on toddler patient

Is Sedation Dentistry Safe for Your Child?

TeamPediatric Dentistry, Sedation Dentistry

Do you have a child who gets nervous about going to the dentist? Some children are anxious about just having their teeth cleaned. Others are fine until they need to have a procedure like a cavity filling or a tooth extraction. It is normal for children to feel anxious or afraid of getting dental work done, which is why there are ways to help them feel more relaxed. 

Sedation dentistry is a helpful option for patients of all ages from children to adults. There are varying degrees of sedation and different ways it is administered. The options used by dentists are perfectly safe for most children. Your dentist will want to discuss your child’s health history before administering sedation to ensure there are no health risks. 

What Types of Sedation Can Be Used For Children?

There are a few different types of sedation available that render varying levels of sedation. Here are the most common options. 

  • Nitrous Oxide. Sometimes known as “laughing gas”, nitrous oxide is administered through a breathing tube that fits over the nose. The child breathes the nitrous oxide in through their nose and it provides a euphoric feeling that is relaxing. Sometimes it makes patients laugh or giggle, which is where the term “laughing gas” comes from. Some patients describe feeling a tingling sensation in their hands and feet. 

Nitrous oxide has no negative effects on the brain or respiratory system. Once the procedure is complete, the nitrous oxide flow is replaced with pure oxygen to help clear the body faster. Children are back to normal in just a few minutes following the procedure. They can even return to school or other activities. 

  • Oral Sedation. Children can take an oral sedative in pill or liquid form that will relax them in preparation for a dental procedure. An oral sedative may make them feel sleepy, but they will be awake for the procedure and able to respond to questions and requests. 

Oral sedation doesn’t wear off instantly like nitrous oxide can, but it will eventually work its way out your child’s system in a matter of minutes or hours following the procedure. It will affect each child differently and may take longer to wear off for some children than others. Oral sedatives have no permanent effects and are safe for most children. 

  • IV Sedation. For more in-depth, longer procedures, IV sedation may be recommended. IV sedation involves the use of an intravenous sedative that puts the child partially to sleep. They will feel as if they are sleeping and will not remember the procedure, but they will still be able to respond to questions and requests during the procedure. Most patients feel as if they fell asleep and woke up just a few minutes later, even though an hour or more has passed. 

IV sedation is used for procedures such as tooth extraction and oral surgery that may be more invasive and require a longer time in the dentist’s chair. 

Nitrous Oxide is the Safest Form of Sedation Dentistry

While oral sedation and IV sedation are also very safe, nitrous oxide is the safest and therefore most widely used option for children. If you have any questions or concerns, discuss them with your dentist as well as your child’s primary care provider to ensure that your child can safely undergo nitrous oxide sedation. 

Rosewood Dental Offers Sedation Dentistry for Children and Adults

Dental anxiety is a common phenomenon for children and adults. Sedation dentistry is designed to reduce stress and fear so that patients can relax and get the dental care they need. Helping children to feel more relaxed during dental procedures can help to reduce their anxiety as they grow, possibly preventing more serious dental anxiety in adulthood. Sedation options at Rosewood Dental are just as safe for children as they are for adults, so feel free to let us help your child to relax through their dental care. 

Call 301-515-2466 today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment. We look forward to providing safe, effective dental care for the whole family.