Children who are very young or who have a high level of anxiety that interferes with the cooperation necessary for the dentist to perform treatment may require some level of sedation. There are many safe and effective drugs available today that can help relax the child and promote a good environment for optimal and safe dental treatment.
Nitrous oxide (happy gas) is available in our office and helps to relieve anxiety in children. It is appropriate for children who are a bit nervous or who have a small amount of dental work to do. It is also very helpful for children who have a gag reflex and can help to make even routine procedures like sealants and x-rays more comfortable for children of all ages. It is simply breathed in through a nose piece and is always given with ~50% or more oxygen. It is an incredibly safe and effective way to help a child relax during a procedure.
Conscious sedation is an option for children who have more anxiety or a more difficult procedure than would allow for comfortable treatment with happy gas alone. The medication can given in a cup or, in some cases, administered as a nasal spray. The child’s blood pressure, oxygen level, and heart rate are monitored throughout the procedure although the mild medications used in the office are not expected to affect these measurements. Sedation is very effective way to help young or nervous children through what could otherwise be a difficult dental experience for them.
General anesthesia is sometimes necessary for children that have a large amount of dental work to do that are unable, by either age or maturity level, to cooperate during dental treatment. The child is completely asleep for the entire procedure and all of these cases at RMPD are completed in the hospital setting for the patient’s safety. All of our general anesthesia cases are performed in an operating room with an anesthesiologist and team of nurses to care for the sleeping child while one of our Board Certified Pediatric Dentists completes the dental procedures.
These option for treatment are most helpful for
- Children who require major treatment
- A very anxious child
- Children that have had traumatic dental experiences
- Children who have sound and smell aversions
- Children with a strong gag reflex
- Children who are medically compromised or have special needs