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Is Sedation Dentistry Safe for Children?

June 26, 2024
Is Sedation Dentistry Safe for Children

Sedation dentistry is a helpful, and sometimes necessary, tool when it comes to children’s dental care. It is common for children to be nervous or fearful of receiving dental care, but sedation can make the experience more comfortable and relaxing. 

If your child needs sedation for an upcoming dental visit, you may have some questions. Is sedation dentistry safe for children? What types of sedation are available? Learn the answers to these questions and more about pediatric sedation dentistry

What is Sedation Dentistry? 

Sedation dentistry is the use of medicated relaxation assistance for dental procedures. Sedation can be administered in a variety of forms with varying levels of consciousness. But the ultimate goal is for the patient to feel more comfortable and experience less stress. 

Types of Sedation Used in Dentistry 

The following types of sedation may be used in pediatric dentistry:

  • Nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is a gas that is administered through a mask placed over the nose. As the child breathes it in they begin to feel more relaxed and less aware of what is going on around them. 
  • Conscious oral sedation. An oral sedative can be prescribed in pill or liquid form that provides a slightly deeper level of sedation. The child can take the sedative before their appointment so that it has time to take effect before treatment begins. 
  • IV sedation. An even deeper level of sedation can be achieved with IV sedation. It is administered through a needle placed in the arm. The child will be conscious, but they will have little to no memory of the procedure afterwards. 
  • General anesthesia. The deepest level of sedation used in dentistry is general anesthesia. This is the same level of sedation that is used for most surgical procedures. It is administered in an out-patient or hospital setting where the patient can be closely monitored. 

Risks and Side Effects of Sedation

Most types of sedation are safe for most patients. The risks and side effects are minimal in most cases. Nitrous oxide wears off in just a few minutes following the procedure. It has the least amount of risk associated. Conscious oral sedation also has a very low risk and minimal side effects. IV sedation typically has a stronger effect on the patient, meaning they will need a longer period of rest following their procedure. General anesthesia comes with the highest level of risk, which is why it is only administered in a hospital setting. 

A complete medical history and list of medications will be gathered to ensure that sedation is a safe option for the patient. If there are any medical conditions or concerns, approval from your pediatrician may be required. 

Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry offers many benefits, such as:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Helps children develop a positive association with dental care
  • Parents worry less about their child’s emotional well-being
  • Children can get the dental care they need in a safe environment 

Frequently Asked Questions About Sedation Dentistry

Can my child go back to school or resume regular activities after sedation? 

Nitrous oxide is the mildest form of sedation and it wears off in a matter of minutes. Your child can go about the rest of their day as if nothing is different, unless the procedure itself calls for additional rest. 

Can you still feel pain when under sedation? 

Whether or not you can feel pain depends on the type of sedation. During nitrous oxide, conscious oral sedation, and IV sedation some local anesthesia is typically used as well to ensure the patient is comfortable. With general anesthesia, the patient is completely unconscious and cannot feel pain. 

Where Can I Find a Pediatric Dentist Who Offers Sedation? 

If you think your child may benefit from sedation dentistry, Kids & Teens Dental Place offers a variety of options. We provide sedation so that our patients can get the dental care they need without any fear or stress. It helps parents breathe easier too. 

To learn more, contact us today and schedule an appointment. 

Contact our office today to schedule your appointment!

11041 Shadow Creek Parkway Suite 125 Pearland, TX 77584
9540 S. Main St. Ste 100 Houston, TX 77025
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