When to Choose Sedation Dentistry for Your Child

Sedation dentistry is a popular service in the world of pediatric dental care because it’s a safe and effective solution for helping kids get the dental care they need without discomfort or fear.

Many parents new to dental sedation often wonder, “Does my child actually need sedation for their appointment?” Every child and every situation is unique, but there are three very common scenarios in which sedation dentistry for your child can be beneficial.

If one of the scenarios applies, our dentists will discuss the possibility of sedation dentistry for your child.

Scenario 1: Your child is working through dental anxiety or has a severe dental phobia.

It’s completely normal for children to exhibit some level of mild nervousness when they visit a dentist for the first few times. After all, a dentist’s office can initially feel like an intimidating, strange place for youngsters. That said, some kids don’t outgrow this initial nervousness; instead, they develop true dental anxiety or even severe dental phobia. This fear is even more common in patients with special health care needs, with nearly 30% citing dental anxiety or fear in this study.

Although our team focuses on creating as positive of an experience as possible, some children need a little extra help relaxing. Sedation allows us to help your child feel more comfortable during the appointments, and best of all, we can tailor how much sedation is needed to achieve a state of relaxation. For example, if your child has mild to moderate anxiety, simply breathing in nitrous oxide during the visit can be enough to help them shake those jitters. Oral sedation or full anesthesia may be the best route for severe anxiety or a phobia.

The use of a mild sedative, like nitrous oxide, can also be combined with other therapeutic techniques to help kids overcome their anxiety. While the sedative helps your child physically relax, they can also practice breathing exercises or use CBT with a therapist or counselor to help them overcome their phobia or fear. Over time your child may no longer need the help of sedation.

Scenario 2: Your child has a disability that can make sitting for dental procedures uncomfortable or difficult.

Sedation dentistry is an incredibly valuable tool for children with disabilities, including limited mobility and medical or unique behavioral needs. Some medical conditions requiring sedation include Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), cerebral palsy, epilepsy, vision or hearing impairment, and muscular dystrophy, to name a few. Physical conditions that make it difficult to sit or lay back in a chair can also be eased with sedation.

Some kids may only need moderate sedation to help their bodies feel relaxed and sleepy, while others may need general anesthesia treatment appointments. You and the dentist will discuss the safest and most effective solution.

To ensure 100% safety during sedation, your dentist may want to first discuss your child’s medical history with their GP for greater insight into how sedation may interact with their health condition, current medication, and more.

Scenario 3: Your child is a dental care champ, but they need a longer, more invasive procedure this time.

Dental sedation isn’t just for kids who have a tough time at the dentist. It’s also a great option for children who love their dentist and sit perfectly during check-ups, cleanings, and simple fillings… but now need more extensive care.

Lengthy dental care procedures can be tiring to sit through for adults, let alone for energetic children. If your child needs a baby root canal, extractions, or multiple fillings, some level of sedation can help them relax and feel much more comfortable. It goes without saying that sedation dentistry is generally always recommended if a child needs a full-mouth reconstruction or requires oral surgery.

Ask their dentist if you’re unsure if your child needs sedation for a specific procedure. If your child has been seeing the same dentist for a while, they’ll have a very good idea of your child’s attention span and how well they sit during general care appointments.

Book a consultation at Spinnaker Pediatric Dentistry to learn about safe dental sedation for kids.

You can find out if sedation dentistry is right for your child through an in-person consultation with one of the best kids’ dentists in Salem, OR.

The dentist will review your child’s medical history and discuss any unique needs your child may have, such as limited mobility or a dental phobia. They’ll recommend a sedation option that will keep your child safe and comfortable, and you’ll be able to ask questions about the sedation process, including what to expect from a parent’s perspective.

Schedule your child’s dental sedation consultation today by calling Spinnaker Pediatric Dentistry or requesting an online appointment.