If your child has trouble visiting the dentist because of severe anxiety or special needs, or if they require major dental work, dental anesthesia may be the right choice.
If your child has trouble visiting the dentist because of severe anxiety or Special Needs, or if they require major surgery or procedure, it can sometimes be necessary for that child to be administered sedation or anesthesia. Dentist anesthesiologists have the necessary experience and qualifications that allow them to treat and assist children safely throughout the process.
Like regular anesthesiologists, dentist anesthesiologists are trained to work with children and infants. They can also deliver the proper care to children when in the dentist’s chair or operating room.
Anesthesia & Children
In 2019, the current guidelines for dentists and oral surgeons were updated by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. These guidelines help give dentists and oral surgeons a procedural map to follow when providing general anesthesia or deep sedation to children.
For starters, there must always be two people in the room, each of whom is trained with the ability to provide full life support in the case of an emergency. One of the people in the room will be the dentist or oral surgeon, and they will be performing the actual procedure.
The other person in the room is known as an independent observer.
Understanding The Different Levels of Sedation
It is essential to know that there are different levels of sedation. The dentist will ultimately decide the type of sedation necessary for the patient or procedure, though understanding what each level is will help you as a parent feel more in control.
- Mild Sedation – Mild sedation is when the child remains conscious throughout the procedure. Mild sedation is the lightest level of sedation that we offer and typically involves a mild sedative such as Nitrous Oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas, or a Valium-like medication. Nitrous Oxide is the most popular choice, though some children don’t like the feeling. Dentists don’t need to go through additional training to administer mild sedation.
- Moderate Sedation – Moderate sedation, otherwise known as sedation dentistry, makes the child sleepier during the procedure, though they are not entirely asleep. We highly recommend this for older children, as they are a bit less fearful.
- Deep Sedation – Deep sedation, otherwise known as sleep dentistry, is a method of sedation where the child is completely asleep throughout the procedure. There will be no memory of the procedure. During your child’s procedure, there will always be an independent observer in the room to monitor the child’s heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, etc. This method is entirely pain-free and excellent for more extended operations or procedures.
Making Your First Appointment
Whether your child struggles with severe anxiety or special needs, or if they need a serious dental operation, including surgery, St. Louis pediatric anesthesia can help. At The Dental Anesthesia Center in St. Louis, we have been practicing sleep and sedation dentistry for the past 25 years. We know how important the safety and comfort of your child are during their procedure, and we aim to provide nothing less than that!
Call Us Today
The Only Board Certified Dental Anesthesiologists in the State of Missouri, including the St. Louis Metro Area.