Is Dental Sedation Safe for Kids?

Dental sedation can be a critical part of going to the dentist, even for kids. But whenever a parent hears their child might need sedation during their next appointment, their number one question is: 

Is it safe?

Find out the answer and more about pediatric sedation dentistry in this short blog post.

Why Does a Child Need Dental Sedation?

Sedation is used by dentists to ensure everyone has access to dental care. When it comes to children, a pediatric dentist might recommend sedation in the following cases: 

  • The child is too young to sit still in the chair or comply with instructions like keeping their mouth open
  • The child suffers from dental anxiety or is very scared
  • The child has a disability that affects their dental treatment
  • The child needs a lengthy or complex dental procedure

The role of sedation is to ensure the child is perfectly calm and relaxed during their appointment, so the dentist can administer the treatment. 

Many people confuse sedation with anesthesia. While many sedatives can have an anesthetic effect to a point, the latter is used to prevent patients from feeling pain during their procedures. 

Types of Dental Sedation

There are four types of sedation used in pediatric dentistry:

  • Laughing gas, also known as nitrous oxide, is the most common dental sedation used for children. It’s very mild and isn’t known to cause long-term side effects. The child inhales the gas through a special mask placed on their nose and then inhales oxygen at the end of their appointment to expel all traces of gas.
  • Oral conscious: It’s a stronger sedative that requires medication shortly before the child’s appointment. Oral conscious sedation lasts longer and is used when the child either cannot receive laughing gas or needs a more complex dental treatment.
  • IV sedation: For longer appointments, children may receive IV sedation to ensure they remain relaxed throughout the entire process. Sedatives are delivered through an IV in a constant stream to ensure the effects don’t wear off before the appointment ends.
  • General anesthesia: This is the only sedative that puts the patient to sleep. Children only receive this sedation in the case of serious dental surgery and only in a hospital setting.

Dental Sedation Is Perfectly Safe for Children

Sedation is safe when it’s used by a trained professional in a controlled setting. A dentist will first assess the child’s medical history and take into account their necessary dental treatment before recommending one type of sedation over another.

Still, it’s natural to have more questions about dental sedation, even after learning more about it. 

Valencia pediatric dentist Dr. Laura Greenwald would be happy to answer all your questions and help you make the best possible decision for your child.

You can request a visit to All Kids Dentistry online and stop by our office for a dental sedation consultation.

For more information, call us at (661) 349-8636 today.

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