Pediatric Sedation Dentistry

Stress-Free Pediatric Dentistry

Studies show that about 75% of adults have some level of dental fear ranging from mild to severe. Unfortunately, many children are just as scared if not more terrified of the dentist. For your children, it is important to create a pleasant and healthy response to going to the dentist. Thankfully, sedation dentistry for pediatric procedures allows for a much more enjoyable experience for children of all ages.

Does your child have a cavity or need a filling? First and foremost, sedation dentistry is in fact very safe! It is used to make your child calm yet not necessarily sound asleep. Generally, sedation is rather useful during longer amounts of time spent in the dentist chair or more complicated procedures. It is useful during a range of methods, such as general teeth cleanings for those with extreme dental fear or very young children. This is because mild sedatives calm active or fidgeting children so that they are not hurt or uncomfortable during dental visits.

Methods and Intensities of Sedation Dentistry

The type of sedation your child should receive depends on your child’s anxiety level, activity level, and dental procedure. Mom, be sure to speak to us about which type of sedation is best for your child. Don’t worry — IV sedation and general anesthesia are not often used unless oral surgery is necessary or in extreme cases. Light sedation and conscious sedation are most commonly recommended for children.

  • Light sedation (Anxiolysis) – oral sedative or light use of gas (nitrous oxide)
  • Conscious sedation – we use a combination of the following liquid medications:
    • Choral Hydrate: a sedative/hypnotic
    • Atarax: helps prevent irritation of the stomach lining which could cause nausea
    • Demerol: a sedative and pain reliever

Parents are required to remain in the waiting room while their child is being treated. It is our experience that children typically behave better when their parents are not present, and thus tend to have a more positive experience!

Conscious sedation medications tend to kick in around 15 minutes after administered, and can take 45 minutes to an hour to reach maximum effectiveness. Once the medication has taken effect, your child will be escorted by one of our trained staff members to an operatory for treatment. If we feel your child is not at the appropriate level of sedation, nitrous oxide may also be utilized. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is a safe, colorless, odorless gas. It is taken in with normal breathing and is quickly eliminated from the body.

Tooth Tip: If conscious sedation is needed, your child is to have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before their appointment. Please ask your dentist for more details depending on the method and procedure! Some side effects from pediatric sedation dentistry include drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting. Not following the pre-sedation food and liquid instructions could enhance certain side effects.

At Snodgrass-King, we are proud to have both a professional and kid-friendly environment in hopes of reducing dental anxiety in all ages. By saving parents the headache and kids the stomachache, we hope to provide a friendly, family environment for everyone. Curious about pediatric sedation dentistry?
Request an appointment with us at Snodgrass-King. We would love to chat!