Keeping Your Child Calm and Comfortable at the Dentist

You are your child’s superhero. After all, it’s your job to keep them healthy, safe, and happy. Sometimes, though, keeping your child healthy requires you to do something that they don’t like or even that they find scary — like dental treatments. That’s why, if your child needs extensive dental treatments, has severe dental anxiety, or has other special needs, you may be looking for ways to make their dental procedures easier and alleviate anxiety for both of you. When you begin researching this topic, one of the biggest suggestions you’ll likely run across is conscious sedation, so you might be wondering if it’s a safe option that could make your child’s dental procedures go more smoothly.

Like any treatment, conscious sedation isn’t an ideal solution in every circumstance or for every child, but when it’s necessary it can transform your child’s experience at the dentist, keeping them calm and comfortable throughout their procedure. There are several different options when it comes to conscious sedation, making it easier to tailor to your child’s specific needs, but it’s also not the only option. This can be a surprisingly complicated topic with a lot of factors for you to consider, so we’ve put together a guide to help you understand conscious sedation and what other options are available. Together, we’ll work with you to transform your child’s experience at the dentist.

We Offer Several Levels of Sedation When Necessary

There are several ways to achieve conscious sedation, each of which provides a different level of sedation. Nitrous oxide, which you’ve probably heard of as laughing gas or happy gas, is the most minimal. The gas is easily administered by letting your child inhale it and works by helping your child feel calm and relaxed while helping to eliminate pain or discomfort, making it a great method for relieving dental anxiety. It takes effect and wears off very quickly, usually in no more than five minutes.

When nitrous oxide doesn’t provide enough relief for your child, we sometimes offer oral conscious sedation, which involves giving your child an oral medication before their procedure. This medication produces a mild sedative effect, helping your child feel relaxed without creating an induced sleep like general anesthesia does. Your child might even feel relaxed enough to fall asleep during their procedure, but it’s easy for Dr. Cooper or Dr. Day to wake them up if they need to. With this, the procedure will be over before your child knows it! It takes a few hours for this type of sedation to wear off, however, and your child will need to rest for the remainder of the day.

In a few special cases, such as when extensive dental treatments are necessary, we can also offer general anesthesia. This type of sedation puts your child into a deep sleep throughout the procedure, so they won’t remember any of it. By the time they wake up, their procedure is done, making the process much less stressful for your child. It’s a more complex type of sedation, however, and is always carried out in the presence of a highly trained anesthesiologist. We can perform this type of sedation in our office or at a nearby surgery center.

These Methods Each Have Unique Benefits and Drawbacks

Just like any other medical treatment, conscious and hospital sedation both have benefits and drawbacks that you’ll want to consider before deciding to try them. Namely, there’s always a risk with any type of sedation — and even small risks need to be taken into account. This is why it’s always important to discuss the pros and cons of sedation with your child’s pediatric dentist to make the best decision for your child. When it’s necessary, however, conscious sedation can help visits go more smoothly for everyone involved, especially your child. It helps them feel calm and relaxed, making the entire experience more positive. Hopefully, this positive experience will help future visits be more relaxing and less anxiety-filled for your child — even without conscious sedation.

Conscious Sedation Isn’t the Only Method We Use to Keep Your Child Calm and Comfortable

If you’re looking into options to help your child feel calm, relaxed, and comfortable during their dental appointments and procedures, conscious sedation isn’t your only option! At Spinnaker Pediatric Dentistry, we employ several methods to help kids of all ages feel comfortable during their appointments. The first method is a simple matter of experience. We work with kids all day, every day, so each member of our staff is an expert on how to soothe your kids and help them feel relaxed. We also use advanced technology to ensure your child gets the best, most comfortable care possible.

Dental lasers are one of these cutting-edge technologies. They can be used to treat anything from cavities to gum disease, but they don’t create loud noises or strong vibrations during treatment. Dental lasers are also often painless, reducing or outright eliminating the need for numbing shots. These factors work together to put your child more at ease throughout their procedure. Plus, dental lasers reduce bleeding and inflammation, cut down on the chance of infection, and encourage faster healing, giving your child a better overall outcome with less anxiety during the procedure itself.

We Want to Help You Make the Best Decision for Your Child

Just like you, our goal is to give your child the best dental care with the least amount of anxiety possible. Every child is different, so the right solution for one child isn’t necessarily the right solution for yours. At the end of the day, you know your child best, so you’re the best person to make this decision for them. You’re not alone in this, though! We’re here to help guide you and your child through decisions like this, so we’ll work with you to find the best solution for your child. Your child’s pediatric dentist is an amazing resource, so if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask! We’re happy to answer any of your questions about conscious sedation, general anesthesia, or the other options we offer to help your child feel comfortable and relaxed during their procedure.

Being your child’s superhero isn’t always easy, but it’s always rewarding! Making decisions that help your child to receive great dental care with minimum anxiety keeps them healthy and goes a long way toward helping them build a lifelong positive association with the dentist. If you’d like to learn more about conscious sedation or our other options, feel free to call our office and schedule a consultation with Dr. Cooper or Dr. Day at any time.