Sedation for Kids
Going to the dentist can be a scary experience, especially for children. The experienced professionals at Oahu Pediatric Dentistry understand - we make every effort to ensure your child’s dental experience is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
One of the options that parents can consider is sedation. This is ideal for children extremely anxious about their dental work, for children who have trouble sitting still for extended periods, or children with special needs. Essentially, the child is given medication that calms the nerves and relaxes them. Sedation is different from full anesthesia. When sedated, the child is still awake and at no point loses consciousness, as opposed to full anesthesia in which a sleep-like state is induced. The sedation remedy for children nervous about visiting the dentist is safe, effective, and widely practiced in modern clinics like ours.
The profession of sedation is known as “anesthesiology,” and the practitioner is called an “anesthesiologist.” These are fully educated, trained professionals whose sole expertise is safely sedating patients.
Types of Sedation for Kids
There are several ways to sedate children. The most popular means is with nitrous oxide (NO), known colloquially as “laughing gas.” Our experts fit a mask over the patient’s nose and mouth, and then administer the drug as a gas which is inhaled into the lungs. The medication takes about five minutes to achieve its effect, leaving the child relaxed and peaceful.
Another option is a medication that the child takes orally. Examples include Demerol and Valium. Results with these medications take a bit longer than NO to achieve, but their effects last longer.
A third way to sedate a patient is with an intravenous (IV) injection of medication. An IV injection is the heaviest form of sedation, rendering a relatively deep state of relaxation. This might be the best option for children who are extremely anxious about visiting the dentist.
Preparing for Sedation
Understandably, many parents are concerned about sedating their children. We always meet with parents before their child undergoing any type of sedation to explain the procedure and ease any worries about what to expect.
First, it is important to remember that sedation is incredibly safe when practiced responsibly. Millions of patients around the world are successfully sedated each year and very few experiences any negative consequences.
Your anesthesiologist will advise you on specific ways to prepare depending on your child’s medical history and the type of sedation. For example, eating restrictions may be imposed for the evening and day before treatment.
Recovering from Dental Work
Depending on the type of sedation use, it may take several hours for your child to return to a normal state of function. It is common for the child to be a bit confused or dizzy during the period after sedation. This is rarely a cause for alarm. The child may also feel sleepy. It is best to keep an eye on the child, checking for normal breathing and other vital signs. In the extremely rare case of emergency, go to the nearest hospital.
Oahu Pediatric Dentistry is available to discuss your child’s dental work and sedation options. We can be reached at (808) 201-9956.