Is Your Child Afraid of the Dentist? Sedation Can Help.
If your child is anxious and agitated at dental visits, your dentist may recommend sedation. There are different types of sedation – most of them being “conscious sedation,” meaning they will help a child relax or become sleepy. Under conscious sedation, a child will be able to respond to voices and instructions. Conscious sedation can be used for children with special needs or if a lot of dental work is needed. There are 3 common sedation techniques, explained below. Laughing Gas Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is one option. It’s often used to help relax children who are moderately anxious. Nitrous oxide is mixed with oxygen and administered through a small mask over the nose. A child can communicate with the dentist and their stress and anxiety will lessen. Oral Sedation Some children who are more anxious may need an oral medication that’s stronger than nitrous oxide. This type of sedation will make your child feel sleepy, but he/she will still be able to respond to instructions from the dentist or dental hygienist. You may need to stay at the dentist’s office for a short time after treatment until the sedation wears off. General Anesthesia Sometimes a dental procedure will require a child to be put into a deep sleep. They will be unable to move around or feel pain. General anesthesia is done in a hospital, and the child will go home the same day. Your dentist will discuss the potential risks and benefits of using anesthesia.