It can be hard for a child to sit still while getting a dental procedure done. Young children often get nervous when going to the dentist, and the anxiety they feel can lead to an inability to cooperate. If your child needs dental work and they are not able to relax in the dentist's office, there are a few ways that a dentist can use sedation dentistry to help. Mild sedation can be in the form of nitrous oxide can be used, which is more popularly known as laughing gas. The dentist may also suggest an oral sedative. In cases where the child must get care but can't cooperate for any reason, general anesthesia may be used.
How Nitrous Oxide Is Administered
When your child is sitting in the dentist's chair, they will receive nitrous oxide through a nasal cannula. As your child breathes through their nose, they will begin to feel the relaxing effects of the nitrous oxide. A dental assistant will monitor your child and make sure that their oxygen saturation levels remain stable. You'll be able to talk to your child during this time, and they are likely to respond. They should feel relaxed and able to sit still while receiving their dental treatment.
Oral Sedatives May Be Used Instead
Sometimes a child is very anxious to go to the dentist and an oral sedative could be more useful. Your child's dentist will talk to you about options, and may prescribe a sedative to be given half an hour before the scheduled visit. This may make your child a bit more sleepy than the nitrous oxide, but it is a great way to get your child the dental treatment they need without causing excessive anxiety.
When General Anesthesia is Necessary
There are times when general anesthesia is necessary during dental treatment. If your child has special needs and has involuntary body movements, this is the safest way to get extensive dental work done. If you have a child that refuses to cooperate whether nitrous oxide or an oral sedative is used, you'll need to consider general anesthesia to get the dental work done.
Sedation dentistry helps your child receive the dental work that they need. The dentist will try the least sedating option first, and only go with general anesthesia if absolutely necessary. If you have a child who gets anxious at the dentist, it's time to try sedation dentistry.