If your child experiences anxiety when visiting the dentist or is worried about feeling pain during a procedure, sedation dentistry can be a helpful way to keep them calm. An oral surgeon will administer a safe medication to their young patient, so they are relaxed while the dental work is completed. The team at Oral Surgery Associates of Alaska in Anchorage offers several types of sedation to suit a wide range of needs. Below, they explain each of these techniques.
Conscious oral sedation is ideal for children who have mild anxiety about visiting the dentist and need help staying calm during their exam. Before their appointment, your child will take a small pill that allows them to remain awake and responsive, but ensures they will be at ease. Parents should keep in mind that this sedation dentistry method can lead to nausea and vomiting in some patients.
Nitrous oxide, sometimes referred to as “laughing gas,” is inhaled through an oxygen delivery mask before and during dental work. This safe and effective method is ideal for young patients who have moderate anxiety levels or need to stay calm during minor procedures like getting a filling. Nitrous oxide wears off almost immediately after it is it discontinued. If your child’s dentist or oral surgeon recommends this sedation method, make sure they don’t eat for a few hours before the appointment to minimize the risk of nausea.
Local anesthetics that are applied directly to the mouth do not have a sedative effect, but they can help children have a pain-free dental experience. For more extensive procedures, such as oral surgery, it may be necessary to use general anesthesia to both relax the patient and reduce pain sensations.
General anesthesia is delivered intravenously under the care of a qualified anesthesiologist. Unlike oral sedation or nitrous oxide, this method puts the patient into a deep sleep until the dental work is done. While your child will be able to go home after their oral surgery, they will likely remain groggy and disoriented until the medication wears off.
If your child feels stressed or scared about visiting the dentist, they may be a good candidate for sedation dentistry. The team at Oral Surgery Associates of Alaska will recommend the appropriate method for your child to ensure they do not experience anxiety or pain. To schedule an appointment, call (907) 561-1430. Visit the practice’s website to learn more about their services.