If your child has to have dental treatment and they are very anxious about it, the dentist may recommend that they are sedated. If your child is anxious, they may wriggle and move around making it difficult for the dentist to carry out their work. Because sedation allows your child to remain fully conscious during treatment, you and the dentist will be able to interact with them to offer reassurance. Below is a guide to two common sedation techniques which your dentist may use on your child.
Nitrous oxide is sometimes called laughing gas because, at low doses, it can trigger euphoria. It is typically used in cases of mild anxiety. The dentist will place a mask over your child's face. The mask is supplied with a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide. Your child will be instructed to breathe normally so that they inhale the gas. The gas will start to have an effect in a matter of seconds. You will notice that your child becomes more relaxed as their body absorbs the gas. Once the gas has taken effect, the dentist will remove the mask and begin work. Nitrous oxide is extremely safe and is naturally eliminated from the body. Once the dental work is complete, the dentist will reattach the mask to administer oxygen to help eliminate the gas from your child's blood.
Oral sedation is used for cases of acute anxiety for which nitrous oxide does not provide adequate relief. Your dentist will prescribe a benzodiazepine drug with instructions for you to administer it to your child shortly before your scheduled appointment. The type of medication used will depend on a number of factors, such as:
Once the procedure is completed, it can take some time for the effect of the medication to wear off, so you should keep a close eye on your child as they may be clumsy or disorientated. You may need to wait in the dentist office for a short time after the treatment is completed so that the dentist or nurse can monitor your child.
If you have any questions or concerns about the types of sedation used as part of dental treatments, you should contact your local dentist today. They will be happy to discuss your options and needs for your child.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved stories about the past. Whether the stories were about horses, wars, exploration or even dentistry, I loved to hear them. I find that knowing the history of something helps it to make sense and feel approachable. I know that some people have dental anxiety, and I too have suffered, but I also feel like the more you know about dental work and its history, the easier it is. This blog is dedicated to exploring the history of dentistry – What did ancient people use for fillings? How did early dentists numb their patients? Who was the first dentist? Those are just some of the questions I plan to answer here. Ready? Okay, let's dive into the history of dentistry together!