Sedation Dentistry for Kids
While the idea of dental treatments can be scary for some adults, the thought of going to the dentist for any type of treatment can be downright frightening for a child. When your child comes into the office, we do everything we can to ensure the comfort and safety of your child. However, speaking in a gentle tone, showing our tools and explaining what we are going to do, and avoiding the use of frightening words may not be enough to reassure them. At Great Grins for KIDS - Portland, we can help to ease anxiety and fears in your child with sedation dentistry.
Reasons for Sedation
We do everything we can to provide a caring, comfortable environment for all of our patients. However, there are some children who are just more anxious than others. Their anxiety can make it difficult for them to sit still, which can interfere with our ability to provide them with effective care in a safe way. With sedation dentistry, we can help your child to relax and remain completely comfortable while we perform their treatments. Sedation can also be helpful for children who need to have significant dental work done or for children with special needs.
Nitrous oxide is the mildest form of sedation we offer. You may be more familiar with this type of sedation by its other name, laughing gas. It is an odorless gas that we combine with oxygen to be inhaled through a small mask worn over the nose. The gas takes effect very quickly and wears off shortly after the gas is turned off. During their treatment, your child is completely relaxed and still fully conscious. This type of sedation also raises the pain tolerance and decreases the gag reflex. Your child is monitored during their treatment, and their blood pressure is taken both before and after.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral conscious sedation is a stronger form of sedation that involves taking medication by mouth. You will be provided with instructions before the appointment regarding food and liquids. Following these instructions is important for the safety of your child. An hour before their procedure, we provide your child with the sedative. It will make them feel sleepy and relaxed, but they will still be conscious. It is not uncommon for children to experience temporary amnesia, meaning they might not remember their procedure. This can be a great benefit for many children. The sedative may linger for several hours, so it is important to monitor your child for the remainder of the day as it wears off.
While conscious sedation may be effective for many children, there are some who may need something stronger. Young children who are unable to understand sitting still, those who need extensive work, those with certain medical issues, and those with extremely high anxiety may be recommended for general anesthesia. We can provide general anesthesia in our office or a hospital setting depending upon the specific needs of your child. General anesthesia is administered through an IV directly into the bloodstream. Before administering this anesthesia, however, we provide your child with an inhaled anesthetic, so they are asleep before any needles are given. We have a well-established partnership with highly experienced anesthesiologists. Your child is monitored throughout their entire procedure to ensure safety. The effects of general anesthesia may linger for several hours, so you should continue to monitor your child for the remainder of the day even after you have left the office or hospital.
With sedation, your child can relax and remain at ease while we perform their necessary dental treatments in a safe, effective manner. For more information on sedation, and to schedule an appointment for your child, call Great Grins for KIDS - Portland at (971) 470-0054 today.