As a concerned parent, you want to make sure your child takes the proper steps to maintain a healthy smile. In addition to brushing and flossing daily, this includes regular visits to the dentist. If your child is fearful, he or she might show signs of anxiety leading up to the appointment with Dr. Evanson, such as insomnia, sweating, hyperventilation or lightheadedness.
To help the experience at our office go as smoothly as possible for everyone involved, you may want to consider pediatric sedation dentistry to help your child relax and promote a safe, optimal dental environment. Depending on the option you choose, sedation dentistry can range from simply feeling relaxed or being completely asleep during the procedure.
Pediatric sedation dentistry is most appropriate for:
- Infants who don’t understand the need to hold still.
- Children facing a major dental treatment.
- Anxious or uncooperative children.
- Children with special needs.
- Children who have had a traumatic dental experience in the past.
- Children with a strong gag reflex.
The simplest method for reducing pain during a tooth extraction or other dental procedure is to numb the area with a local anesthetic. Depending on the work your child needs performed, we may use a block injection, which numbs an entire region of the mouth, or an infiltration injection, which numbs a smaller area.
To prepare your child’s mouth for the injection, Dr. Evanson pats an area dry. A quick swab of gel numbs the skin. Then the anesthetic is injected, often without your child feeling a thing. The numbing effect kicks in quickly and lasts for several hours, so be prepared to help your child eat and drink safely and carefully for the rest of the day.
Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
It’s important for children to remain calm during a trip to the dentist to avoid endangering themselves. Nitrous oxide, commonly called laughing gas, is a safe, viable option. The child remains awake and responsive while breathing in the gas through a small mask placed over the nose.
Feelings of relaxation and even euphoria make dental treatment more comfortable and speed up the perceived passage of time. Even when nitrous oxide is administered, local anesthetic is usually still used to numb the treatment area.
At the end of the treatment, nitrous oxide is swapped out for oxygen to quickly remove the effects of the gas. It only takes a few seconds for the gas to completely leave the body. The child remains relaxed and continues to feel numbness from the local anesthetic until it wears off a few hours later.
For some children, the effects of a local anesthetic and laughing gas aren’t enough to completely offset anxiety. In this case, IV sedation is a good alternative. This involves administering an anti-anxiety drug into the bloodstream during dental treatment. This is the highest level of sedation we offer at Evanson DDS, but it doesn’t put your child completely to sleep. He will remain conscious during the procedure, able to understand and respond to requests from Dr. Evanson, but he may not remember much about what went on after the appointment is over. This is thanks to the deep sense of relaxation and partial amnesia IV sedation provides.
The effects of IV sedation are fairly instantaneous. Once the tiny needle goes into your child’s hand, he’ll start to feel lightheaded. Soon, he’ll feel out of it, but remain awake. The effects wear off quickly, too, though you should plan to spend the rest of the day with your child until he’s fully alert again.
If you’re looking for other tips to deal with dental anxiety in kids, please contact Evanson DDS online or call us at (720) 409-0008.Leave a reply →