Children who are very young or who have a high level of anxiety that interferes with the cooperation necessary for the dentist to perform treatment may require some level of sedation. Sedation may also helpful for special needs children. There are many safe and effective drugs available today that can help relax the child and promote a good environment for optimal and safe dental treatment.
For children who might be a little “nervous,” nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” can be an effective, safe sedation method. We often tell parents the best thing about nitrous oxide or laughing gas is that it is really mild. At the same time we warn them the worst thing about nitrous oxide or laughing gas is that it is really mild.
For children who are more “scared” than “nervous,” sometimes oral or conscious sedation might be a better option. The pediatric dentist can administer a pill or “kiddie cocktail” before the scheduled appointment to help relax the child. Today Dr. Aka no longer does oral sedation in his practice, but he works with a number of pediatric dental colleagues locally who can provide this service in case you and he feel as though that might be the best option for your child.
I.V. sedation or general anesthesia is sometimes necessary for children that are unable, by either age or maturity level, to cooperate during conventional dental treatment. Our practice utilizes a certified dental anesthesiologist, Dr. Donald Lee, for cases where the patient may pose a threat to their own safety during treatment. This will be discussed with the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the patient before treatment to ensure the optimum beneficial outcome.
Sedation is most helpful for:
- Children who require major treatment or multiple appointments
- A very anxious or fearful child
- Children that have had traumatic dental experiences (sound and smell aversion)
- Children with a strong gag reflex
- Children who are medically compromised or have special needs