Many parents ask us about sedation dentistry and whether or not we offer this solution for our patients. We do, and highly recommend it. Young children have a difficult time holding still during teeth cleanings and dental treatments. This is understandable considering how wiggly most kids are when doing basic activities like eating dinner. Consider this, if your child can’t sit still for a bedtime story – they are most certain to get the wiggles while having their teeth cleaned.
This can be more than problematic. Dental tools are excellent at cleaning teeth, in part because they have a sharp end or a motor. If, your child moves suddenly with a dental tool in their mouth, they could end up with a cut or an abrasion. We are experts in treating children and cleaning their teeth, but still have concerns about young children accidentally moving when it is not safe for them to do so.
Sedation dentistry provides a much safer alternative since it can help your child to either relax or go to sleep. The level of sedation that we use is based on the actual age of the child, their maturity level, comfort with our dentist office, and what type of procedure is being performed. There is no one-size-fits-all solution so when you come in for an exam we will discuss the options in detail. This is different than when an adult is getting a treatment because adults can often have their teeth cleaned, examined, and treated in the same sitting. With children, it takes multiple appointments to accomplish the same goal because if we notice a cavity during an exam, we will want to prepare you and your child for the actual treatment of it. The benefit, of taking this stance, is that it allows us to discuss options related to sedation dentistry and present you with choices.
We believe that it is best if our patients and, in this case, their parents, are informed and know what to expect during a dental treatment. Once you understand the steps and we have your buy-in, we can schedule an appointment to have the actual work completed. We will typically begin by sedating your child to some degree. Whether a simple cavity is being treated or they need a dental restoration, we will ensure your child’s comfort the entire time using medication to help them relax and to prevent discomfort.
In some cases, it makes more sense for a child to go to sleep. This can guarantee that the child does not wiggle too much during the treatment process. We find that this type of sedation dentistry is most appropriate for toddlers and preschool age children that need to have a cavity worked on. While this is a simple process and easy procedure, it does require the ability to hold absolutely still. As children age, putting them to sleep becomes less and less necessary and as such this level of sedation may only be used for complicated procedures that take longer to complete.