One of the most commonly used types of sedation is nitrous oxide, which is also known as laughing gas. This helps many children relax during their procedure.
Nitrous oxide is a combination of two different gases–-oxygen and nitrous oxide. We administer the gas through a small mask placed over your child’s nose. The gas will make your child relax without the full effect of anesthesia.
Nitrous oxide is so commonly used that even the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognizes it as an effective way to treat children. It is very mild and safe. Children will wake up quickly after we remove the mask.
If you want to use nitrous oxide on your child, you need to let us know if there have been any changes to his or her health or medical condition. If your child has any trouble breathing, let us know because the gas won’t be as effective. We also need to know if your child is taking any medications to make sure that there are no reactions.
Conscious sedation is also commonly used. We use it on children who are really afraid of the dentist. It is also helpful for young children who won’t sit still and children with special needs.
When we use conscious sedation, your child will be very sleepy. Some children even fall asleep, but they will not lose consciousness.
We use a variety of medications for conscious sedation. After discussing your child with you, we will determine which medication (or mixture of medications) will work best for your child. This will depend on your child and what procedure we are doing.
Before your appointment, it is important to let us know if your child has any changes to his or her health. If your child has become ill with a fever, infection, or cold, we may need to postpone treatment. It is also important to let us know what medications your child is taking. If your child has reactions or allergies to drugs, we need to know about it too.
Before your child comes into the office, we need you to keep your child from eating for at least six hours. He or she can have only clear liquids but they too must be stopped about four hours prior to the procedure. We also recommend dressing your child in comfortable clothes that are loose fitting. You should also take your child to the bathroom when he or she gets to our office.
It is important that parents stay with their children for the whole visit. We recommend watching them closely while the medication starts to work. You may even want to hold your child in your lap. If your child runs around, it will take even longer for the medications to work. Your child will slowly become sleepy, though they may get excited at first.
After your child’s appointment, your child will be sleepy for several hours. He or she will need to be watched closely and kept away from anything that could cause harm. If your child wants to sleep, that is alright, but he or she should sleep on his or her side and with his or her chin up. We recommend that you wake your child up every hour and make sure your child is drinking.
Be careful if your child becomes nauseous. If your child vomits, help him or her bend over. Be sure to turn the head to the side so that your child doesn’t inhale the vomit. Because we also use a local anesthesia, your child might bite or chew on the tongue, lips, and inside of the cheek. Your child might also feel itchy and scratch at himself or herself.
We also offer outpatient general anesthesia for our patients. This is also helpful for children who are scared. It can also be really helpful for young children and those with special needs. Sometimes conscious sedation does not work, but general anesthesia will.
When your child is put under general anesthesia, your child will be asleep, just like if he or she was having major surgery. Using general anesthesia has greater risks, but often the benefits of treatment outweigh the risks.
There are many benefits of using general anesthesia. Your child may be able to get multiple procedures done in one day instead of having to come back several times. You won’t have to worry about restraining your child.
Dental fear can be crippling. Using general anesthesia, we can make the procedure go much more smoothly. It may even be the difference between having the treatment that your child deserves and doing nothing. If your child’s dental condition is left untreated, your child may have to live with pain in the mouth, infection, and swelling. Your child may have trouble developing adult teeth. If an infection continues to grow, it can travel throughout the bloodstream, making your child very sick.
There are many forms of sedation to help your child through his or her appointment. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us today at (973) 265-1155.