When children go to the dentist, they might be afraid of the bright lights, the sounds of the instruments and the tools that are used in the mouth. If a child needs something besides a cleaning done in the office, then conscious sedation might be an option. This is a technique that many adults use if they are having work like a root canal or crown done. It’s safe for the child, and the dentist is able to get the necessary work done in the mouth without the child moving around or being anxious about the dentist being so close to the face for a long period of time. Offices like Kool Smiles offer several methods for calming a child for almost any procedure.
Nitrous oxide is one of the most common ways that a dentist can help a child relax. The process is very easy, and there are minimal side effects. Children often like the gas that they are given because it can be flavored. Some of the flavors include strawberry and bubble gum. A small mask is placed on the nose, and the child will breathe in through the mask. The nitrous oxide is administered through the mask. When the dentist is done with the work, the gas is stopped. It only takes a few minutes for the sedation effects of the gas to wear off.
Oral sedation is another option. This is something that is ideal for children who might not be comfortable wearing a mask for a long time. The dentist will often weigh the benefits and risks of taking an oral medication. He will consider how anxious the child gets as well as how the child reacts to the kind of treatment that is received. The medication is often given when the child arrives at the office, so you should probably arrive early for the appointment so that the medicine has time to take effect. Your child will probably be very sleepy, but the dentist will be able to wake the child as needed. With most oral sedatives, the child won’t be able to eat or drink anything before the procedure. This is to help decrease any nausea or vomiting as a side effect of the medication. You need to talk to your child about how the medication might make him feel and what to expect during the procedure. Some children are so sleepy after the procedure that they need to be carried to the car. Monitor your child after you get home to make sure the medication has worn off.
There are some other types of sedation that are sometimes used, but these are often reserved for extensive procedures. An injection or intravenous line is an option if the child is having multiple procedures done at once. If the child receives intravenous medications, then an assistant will monitor the vital signs of the child during the procedure. In the event that nothing works to calm the child, then general anesthesia can be used. This is normally used in cases where several teeth are pulled or there is a surgical procedure that takes place.