For children, a trip to the dentist can be overwhelming. Whether your child already suffers from anxiety or is simply nervous for an upcoming procedure, your dentist may recommend some level of sedation for the procedure to be successful and for your child to be comfortable. Many parents get worried that their child will be unconscious when the doctor uses words like “sedation”, but don’t worry, conscious sedation simply keeps your child comfortable, while staying fully awake.
Conscious sedation is an option for children who are over three years of age. This form of sedation is done using nitrous oxide, and is most commonly referred to as “laughing gas”. This form of sedation has no lasting effects, and makes for a calm dental experience for your child.
On the other hand, deep sedation is sometimes needed for more invasive procedures where the child may not be able or willing to cooperate. In this case, sedation is administered by a certified Anesthesiologist in a hospital setting.
Conscious sedation is the most common form of pediatric sedation, and is helpful for:
- Major dental procedures
- Children with anxiety
- Children who are adverse to the sounds and smells of the dental office due to traumatic experiences in their past
- Children with special needs
If your dentist has recommended dental sedation for your child, you may be wondering what you can do to prepare for the visit. Take a look at these tips that can help both you and your child get ready for the appointment:
Your child likely has never been sedated, so it’s important to explain to them what is going to happen and why. You want your child to be comfortable and prepared for this process so that they don’t feel any anxiety or fear leading up to the appointment. Explain to your child the process of conscious sedation and let them know that they won’t feel any pain.
Getting prepared the night before your child’s procedure will be essential to making the next day stress-free. Take note of any changes in your child’s medical condition and be prepared to let the office know. Changes can include fever, ear infections, nasal or chest congestion, or head trauma. Additionally, you’ll want to bring a list of any prescribed or over the counter medications your child has been taking.
It’s important that your child does not consume any liquids or food prior to the procedure. For this reason, sedation appointments are generally scheduled in the morning. If your child does happen to consume any food or beverages before the appointment, it is absolutely essential that you communicate this to the dentist.
Make sure that your child is comfortable by dressing them in loose-fitting clothing. This will make things easier for both the staff and your child by providing more space for equipment that will monitor your child’s vital signs.
Do you have questions about conscious or deep sedation? We’d be happy to help! Give us a call at (716)241-8563 to talk with a staff member about your child’s unique needs and to schedule an appointment.