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Pediatric Sedation Dentistry | What Is It And Is It Safe?

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Many children feel anxious about going to the dentist. Some may have had a bad experience in the past, while others may have heard stories from friends or family members that have left them feeling scared. As a result, parents may find it difficult to get their children to the dentist for routine check-ups and cleanings.

Dental anxiety is one of the most common phobias in the United States. Luckily, there's a solution. It's called sedation dentistry, and it can help your child get the dental care they need without all the fear and anxiety.

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is the use of medication to help pediatric dental patients relax during dental procedures. There are different levels of sedation, from light sedation to general anesthesia.

What Are the Benefits of Sedation Dentistry?

There are many benefits of sedation dentistry, both for patients and dentists. For patients, the obvious benefit is that pediatric sedation dentistry relaxes them and relieves anxiety symptoms, making it easier to get the dental care they need. It can also make procedures go faster since they won't be tense, anxious, or worse, fighting back.

For dentists, sedation dentistry can make it easier to perform complex procedures on children or treat patients with special needs. It can also be helpful when treating patients with a low pain threshold or strong gag reflex.

Are There Different Types of Medication Used for Pediatric Sedation Dentistry?

Different types of medication are used for sedation dentistry. The type of medication will depend on the level of sedation you need as well as your medical history.

  • Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas). This is the most common type of pediatric sedation and is suitable for children of all ages. Nitrous oxide is a gas that's inhaled through a small mask that fits over the nostrils. It works quickly to relax patients after just a few deep breaths.
  • Oral Sedation. Oral sedation is another option for children anxious about going to the dentist. Medication is given in pill form before the procedure, and it works to relax patients so they're less aware of what's happening around them.
  • IV Sedation (Sleep Dentistry). IV sedation is used for more complex procedures, such as extractions and oral surgeries. It's also an option for children with special needs or who can't tolerate other forms of sedation. In addition, IV sedation puts patients into a twilight sleep, so they're unaware of what's happening during their procedure. 

Pediatric sedation dentistry can help put children at ease during their dental procedures. If your child is anxious about dental cleanings and procedures, talk to a pediatric sedation dentist about which type of sedation would be best.