Stress-Free Dental Sedation for Children

child with no cavities at dentist

Dental problems in children are a cause of concern for any parent. We want to give our little ones the best start in life, and good oral health education starts early on. However, with all our efforts to keep their teeth clean, they may still need a procedure done at the dentist.

So how will you make an infant, a toddler or a preschooler sit still in the dentist’s chair? The solution may be sedation dentistry, along with patiently educating them along the way about oral health.

No matter how well behaved our children are, or how much we insisted on preparing them gently for what’s about to come, some procedures are simply too lengthy or complex for children to be able to sit still during the whole thing. So what are the sedation options you have?

Laughing Gas (Nitrous Oxide)

Generally, the mildest type of sedation your kid can receive is laughing gas – nitrous oxide that is inhaled through a face mask. Its effect lasts shortly and it keeps the patient calm and in a good mood, but it only works well with cooperative patients. If your child is too young or too anxious to go through the procedure with only laughing gas, other options will likely be taken into consideration.

Oral Sedation

Taken in the form of a pill or a syrup before the procedure, oral sedation has longer effects than laughing gas, requires proper preparation hours before the procedure and it may have more side-effects and associated risks. The disadvantage of oral sedation is that the dose cannot be adjusted along the way.

IV Sedation

This is the most common type of sedation used in young children, as it has a stronger effect than the previous ones, keeping the child calm and still, and the dose can be adjusted along the way.

General Anesthesia

If your child is too anxious and cannot be treated while conscious, general sedation will be taken into consideration. The child will be asleep during the whole process and it might take hours before the effects of the sedative fade away. Special care is needed before and after general anesthesia.

Specific Risks of Sedation in Pediatric Dentistry

When it comes to children, you need specialized doctors who know how a child’s body reacts to certain medications. Extra precautions will be taken because of the tighter airwaves of a young patient and certain allergies and conditions that might affect the treatment.

If your child needs extensive dental treatment or they are so anxious that it’s impossible to keep them on the dentist’s chair, talk to your St. Louis pediatric dentist about sedation options and what you need to know about the one that fits your child’s case.

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Updated: April 9, 2020

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