For many children, going to the dentist is a scary ordeal. Your child may be afraid of the pain or is just unable to sit still during the whole procedure. It can be tempting to just give up on the dentist entirely when your child is difficult, but that can lead to new and worsening oral problems.
Luckily, there is a safe and effective way to help treat these children: sedation dentistry. During sedation dentistry, your child receives mild to high levels of sedation to relax them or render them unconscious during a procedure. If this sounds like it could benefit your child, here’s a few things you should know about sedation dentistry for children in San Diego:
Is it Safe?
Every parent’s biggest concern is for their child’s safety. Sedation dentistry is both safe and effective for children. To make sure your child’s sedation goes smoothly, our dentists carefully review medical history before determining what kind of sedation is best. During sedation, we carefully monitor blood oxygen levels, blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate to make sure everything goes according to plan.
At Sedation Dental Center, we take every precaution to ensure that sedation dentistry for children in San Diego will be a safe experience. Unlike most sedation dentists, Dr. DeLisle completed two years of specialized Dental Anesthesia training following dental school, treating thousands of patients using general anesthesia. This additional training makes our staff uniquely qualified to treat your child in a safe and experienced environment.
Types of Sedation
There are several types of sedation available to help your child through their appointment, depending on their needs. We offer four types of sedation: nitrous oxide, oral sedation, intravenous sedation, and general anesthesia. They provide different levels of sedation, from relaxation to complete unconsciousness.
Nitrous oxide provides the lowest level of sedation and is ideal for patients who have mild or moderate dental anxiety. This type of sedation keeps your child awake but totally relaxed.
Oral sedation can offer low or moderate sedation depending on the dose. Low-level sedation will render your child drowsy and relaxed, while moderate sedation will put them to sleep. While asleep, they can be awakened easily by the dentist.
Intravenous or IV sedation provides moderate sedation that will put your child to sleep, similar to a high dose of oral sedatives.
The most powerful form of sedation we offer is general anesthesia, which will render your child completely unconscious for the procedure. This method is best for children with special needs who would otherwise be unable to complete the procedure or patients with extreme dental anxiety.
To make sure we choose the safest and most effective type of sedation for your child, our dentists will discuss options with you and thoroughly review your child’s medical history.
Ideal for Children with Special Needs or Dental Anxiety
Children with special needs often require specialized care at the dentist. They may have trouble sitting still through the procedure or may be afraid of what’s going on. In order for your child with special needs to get proper dental care, sedation dentistry is a very useful tool.
To make sure your child with special needs is treated with the compassion they deserve, it’s important to choose a provider who has experience working with special needs patients. For sedation dentistry for children in San Diego, Sedation Dental Center’s Dr. DeLisle has extensive experience working with children with special needs, including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and developmental disorders.
Sedation dentistry is also ideal for children suffering from dental anxiety. If your child is afraid of the dentist, they may be unwilling to sit still during a procedure. To help alleviate mild to moderate anxiety, low-level sedation will allow your child to relax. If they’re able to associate this relaxation with the dentist, it may help prevent their anxiety from becoming worse.
Other children dislike going to the dentist because they have a strong gag reflex, and they may be resistant to dental procedures. Sedation dentistry can help these children as well. Moderate sedation can put your child to sleep so that they aren’t even aware that the procedure is happening.
Pre- and Post-Sedation Tips
To help make your child’s sedation dentistry appointment as safe and fuss-free as possible, it’s best to come prepared. In the hours before sedation, restrict your child’s food and liquid intake. It can be helpful to bring along a comfort item for your child, like a favorite toy or blanket. When you arrive, make sure to tell your child’s dentist about any changes in your child’s health, including any illnesses or medications.
After the procedure, your child will be escorted to our recovery room, where our staff will monitor their vital signs. When they are stable and alert, you will be allowed to take your child home. Your child may be drowsy for some time after sedation, so it’s best to limit their activities for the rest of the day, especially those that require balance and coordination. The first meal after sedation should be something light and easily digestible; avoid fatty and spicy foods.
Common side effects after sedation include nausea, vomiting, irritability, and low fever. If your child has mild pain or a low fever, you can give them ibuprofen or acetaminophen to treat them. If your child develops a fever higher than 100.5°F, has vomiting that does not stop after 20 minutes, or has difficulty breathing, contact your dentist immediately.
If you’ve had a difficult time bringing your child to the dentist in the past, sedation dentistry may be the solution. Your child can receive all of the dental care they need without any fear or discomfort. For the best in sedation dentistry for children in San Diego, make your appointment with Sedation Dental Center today by contacting us online or calling (619) 493-4188.