Is Sedation Dentistry Safe for My Child?
March 23, 2023
At Pediatric Dentistry of San Marcos, we are committed to providing safe and comfortable dental care to ensure our young patients develop positive associations with the dentist. We are pleased to offer a range of safe sedation dentistry options to help even the most anxious child relax while receiving outstanding dental care. Our goal is to lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
Sedation Dentistry: An Overview
Sedation dentistry involves using medications to create a calm and relaxed state, which helps guide good behavior, prevents sudden movements, and reduces the pain and fear of future dental care.
Sedation dentistry is ideal for any child needing a little help to relax because, let’s face it, most dental procedures require a patient to be perfectly still with their mouths open for about thirty to forty-five minutes, which can be difficult even for adults to tolerate. Sedation dentistry is especially helpful for the following:
- Children with high fear or dental anxiety
- Children with sensitive teeth
- Children with a strong gag reflex
- Children requiring complex or lengthy treatments
- Children who are unable to sit still for long procedures
- Children with past traumatic dental experiences
- Children with special health care needs
What Are the Forms of Sedation?
At Pediatric Dentistry of San Marcos, we offer the following types of sedation services depending on your child’s unique needs:
Nitrous Oxide: Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide sedation is recognized by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry as a safe and effective technique to reduce anxiety in children undergoing dental treatment. Your little one will breathe nitrous oxide mixed with oxygen through a mask and will stay awake and communicate with us throughout treatment. As soon as we turn off the gas, the effects of sedation will wear off completely.
Laughing gas is the lightest and safest form of sedation we offer, with most children feeling completely normal during its use. Nitrous oxide reduces the gag reflex and relaxes the jaw muscles, so your child is not as tired due to keeping their mouth open. Laughing gas also helps with pain management, so some minor procedures can even be completed without additional local anesthesia shots. Laughing gas has an incredible safety record and has been used for over 150 years in dentistry!
Oral Conscious Sedation: If your child needs more help to relax, we may recommend oral conscious sedation, which involves giving your child an oral medication before treatment. We typically use oral conscious sedation for short treatments and in limited circumstances, as there can be mixed results with effectiveness. Your child will be comfortable and remain awake and responsive to directions.
Oral sedation acts almost like a “glass of wine” before dental treatment, where most children can feel more relaxed. It helps them tolerate the laughing gas and procedures better. Some children, however, may feel drowsy and irritable as they have less control over their emotions.
General Anesthesia: If your child is too young or unable to tolerate extensive or lengthy procedures, we may recommend general anesthesia administered by a board-certified anesthesiologist. Your child will remain asleep during treatment and will have no recollection of the procedure. This is similar to what you can expect when wisdom teeth are removed but with the same precautions taken when a child is asleep for surgery in a hospital.
We consider treatments performed under general anesthesia mini dental surgeries, so parents will remain in the waiting area, just as you would in a hospital setting. We utilize the services of the best and most experienced anesthesiologists and take maximum safety precautions. Our anesthesiologist will contact you the night before treatment to discuss the pre-operative instructions, anesthetic plan, risks, benefits, and alternatives. We are always happy to answer your questions.
Is Sedation Dentistry Safe for Your Children?
Sedation dentistry has an incredibly high safety record when administered under the care of an experienced dental professional. At Pediatric Dentistry of San Marcos, we evaluate your child’s medical history and unique needs before sedation. We also adhere to all safety protocols and monitor your child’s vital signs throughout treatment. Moreover, Dr. Allen and Dr. Bala are board-certified pediatric dentists and both are attending doctors at Rady Children’s Hospital. Dr. Allen and Dr. Bala teach sedation dentistry safety and techniques to new dentists in training to become pediatric dental specialists. With our extensive experience and expertise, you can rest assured that your child is in the safest hands!
When it comes to general anesthesia, we select only the best board-certified anesthesiologists who administer and oversee the entire procedure. Whether your child requires laughing gas, oral sedation, or general anesthesia, we never spare any effort to ensure your child is comfortable and safe while receiving outstanding dental care!
Pediatric Dental Sedation Services Near Me in San Marcos, CA
Our board-certified pediatric dentists and team at Pediatric Dentistry of San Marcos are committed to ensuring every dental visit is a comfortable and happy experience. Our gentle approach and sedation dentistry options will ensure your child is relaxed while receiving the highest level of care. We invite you to call 760-978-8285 to schedule your child’s appointment or complete our online appointment request form today!