Dental fears are common, especially in young children. Additionally, some children with special healthcare needs may be prone to anxiety or have sensory disorders that cause regular dental care to be a very challenging experience for them. For these patients, sedation dentistry can be the key to helping them get the care they need for strong, healthy teeth.
Our office is designed to cater to kids and their unique needs, and we have everything we need to provide a safe and comfortable experience for your child. Whether a little nitrous oxide is needed to make an extraction more comfortable, your child has fears that require sedation using oral medication, or your child’s needs or care require general anesthesia.
Many of our patients (and their parents) know nitrous oxide by its other name – laughing gas! Despite the name, this odorless, colorless gas will not make you laugh hysterically. It will, however, provide a deep feeling of relaxation and sometimes a touch of euphoria.
Nitrous oxide is useful when a lower level of anesthesia is needed such as for mild anxiety during a cleaning or for a procedure that may be scary for a child, such as a tooth extraction.
We like nitrous because it’s easy to control the dosage of the gas and increase or decrease the dosage as necessary for each individual patient. Parents like nitrous because the effects wear off quickly, making it easy for kids to return to school or regular activities following their appointment.
Oral sedation is helpful for children who need a slightly deeper level of sedation than nitrous oxide can provide. This is effective for kids who have moderate anxiety or sensory processing disorders since this type of sedation will help dull sensations and actually cause them to not remember much, if any of the appointment. Oral sedation is also helpful for more complex procedures and restorative dental care.
During oral sedation, your child will still be awake, but in a groggy, relaxed state.
Just like if your child needed ear tubes or a tonsilectomy, there are some situations when it is appropriate to provide dental care in a hospital setting under general anesthesia. If your child has a developmental disability or another health condition that makes it difficult for him or her to remain still for dental care, general anesthesia may be the right choice. General anesthesia may also be used if extensive dental care is required to be performed on children with extreme phobias or history of combative behavior.
Have a question?
If you have any questions about our practice, please call us anytime (760) 260-9033