Children with special needs may find dental appointments difficult. However, it is still incredibly important to make sure that your child with special needs is getting timely dental care. If your child with special needs has trouble sitting still at the dentist or experiences dental anxiety, sedation dentistry for children with special needs in San Diego at Sedation Dental Center may be the answer you’ve been looking for. If you are unfamiliar with sedation dentistry for children with special needs, here is what you need to know.
What Is Sedation Dentistry and Who Is It For?
Sedation dentistry, put simply, is any dental procedure that uses a form of sedation to help a patient relax. There are different types of sedation, and each one provides a different effect. Some patients only need mild sedation, while others need to be rendered completely unconscious. The level of sedation needed depends on several factors, including the type of procedure being performed and the patient’s level of anxiety.
Sedation dentistry is ideal for patients with dental anxiety since it relaxes them. Depending on how intense the fear and anxiety is, our team can administer just a low level of sedation or can provide general anesthesia for severe cases. For patients with special needs, sedation dentistry can help children who would otherwise be unable to sit still for the whole procedure. It can also help if your child has a strong gag reflex, which won’t be triggered if they are asleep.
The staff at Sedation Dental Center has experience working with children with a variety of special needs, including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and developmental delays.
Sedation Dentistry Safety
At Sedation Dental Center, we know that the safety of your child is paramount. Sedation dentistry for children with special needs in San Diego is safe, so long as the proper precautions are taken. Before any sedation is administered, our anesthesiologists will take a comprehensive medical history of your child to ensure that sedation is safe for them.
Most sedation dentists only receive 2 weeks of training after completing dental school. Over the course of 2 weeks, they treat approximately 20 patients with IV sedation. At Sedation Dental Center, all of our sedation dentists complete a rigorous 2-year anesthesiology residency after completing dental school. During this residency, they treat thousands of patients, including those with special needs, with general anesthesia. The superior training of our anesthesiologists minimizes the risk of any adverse effects.
Dr. Steven DeLisle is a board-certified dental anesthesiologist who is also certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support. He has treated thousands of children with special needs with general anesthesia, and he oversees all deep sedation for pediatric patients.
The Types of Sedation
At Sedation Dental Center, we offer four types of sedation: nitrous oxide, oral sedation, IV sedation, and general anesthesia.
Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, provides the lowest level of sedation. Your child will remain awake but will feel relaxed, so this method is best for children who can sit still but may feel a little scared.
Oral sedation can either be administered in a low or high dose and is taken an hour before the procedure. A low dose provides an effect similar to nitrous oxide, making your child drowsy and relaxed. A high dose will put your child into a light sleep that the dentist can easily awaken them from if needed.
IV sedation works much faster than oral sedation, though it provides a similar effect to a high dose of oral sedation. IV sedation will put your child into a light sleep.
If your child requires more intense sedation, we offer general anesthesia that will render your child completely unconscious and leave them with no memory of the procedure. This option is best for children with profound fear or anxiety or children who otherwise could not sit through a procedure.
What to Do Before Sedation
Before your child with special needs undergoes sedation, it is important to provide the anesthesiologist with a comprehensive medical history, including all medications. Your doctor will explain the procedure to you and your child, and they will answer any questions you may have. We encourage children to bring a comfort item like a blanket or toy to make them feel safer during their appointment.
If your child with special needs requires any other accommodations, you can contact us before their appointment. Our staff will do everything they can to make your child’s appointment go as smoothly as possible.
During sedation, our anesthesiologist will monitor your child’s blood oxygen levels, heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure to make sure the procedure goes smoothly. If you’d like, we welcome you to stay with your child to help them feel safe during the procedure.
What to Do After Sedation
After your child with special needs undergoes a sedation dentistry procedure, they will be taken to our recovery room. There, a staff member will monitor their vital signs to make sure they are recovering properly. Once your child is stable, you’ll be free to take them home.
Our doctors will provide instructions for post-sedation eating and drinking. Your child may feel drowsy after undergoing sedation, so it is best to let them rest for the remainder of the day.
If you think that your child with special needs could benefit from sedation dentistry, Sedation Dental Center provides the best quality special needs children sedation dentistry in San Diego. Our doctors are happy to answer any questions that you may have. To make your child’s appointment, contact us online or call us at (619)-493-4188.