When Should You Consider Sedation Dentistry For Your Child's Dental Procedures?

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If your child has severe dental anxiety, you may have researched kids' sedation dentistry as an option for dental procedures. With sedation dentistry, children receive a dose of a sedative medication such as midazolam before undergoing their dental procedure. This is a moderate form of sedation that makes children sleepy and relaxed without affecting their ability to breathe on their own. To find out when sedation dentistry might be a good option for your child's dental procedures, read on.

Your Child Needs the Dental Procedure Performed Urgently

Very young children are more prone to experiencing dental anxiety levels that make procedures impossible for your dentist to complete. Children may fight or flail around during the procedure, which increases the risk that they'll hurt themselves or the dentist. As children age, they often grow out of this—they may still have dental anxiety, but they're able to understand that the dental procedure is necessary for maintaining good dental health.

If your child has a dental issue such as a cavity that needs to be filled, you may be tempted to wait until they grow older to have it fixed, since older children have an easier time understanding the purpose of dental care. However, many dental health issues will worsen unless they are addressed immediately. Filling a cavity is a simple procedure. If the cavity grows and exposes the pulp of the tooth to bacteria, your child may need a root canal in order to correct the problem.

One of the main benefits of sedation dentistry is that it allows your dentist to perform procedures that your child may have difficulty tolerating. When a child's dental anxiety makes performing a procedure impossible without sedation, it's better to use sedation and address the problem instead of waiting for a child to outgrow their dental anxiety on their own.

Your Child's Dental Procedure Will Be Lengthy

It's difficult for adults to sit in a dental chair for hours, so it's nearly impossible for children. Some procedures, such as filling multiple cavities in a single visit, take too long for most children to tolerate. While it's possible to split up the fillings across multiple visits in order to make each visit shorter, it's more convenient to do them all at one time.

Dental sedation is very useful for long procedures because it relaxes children and gives them the sensation that time is going by faster. Sedation can also cause anterograde amnesia in some cases, which means that your child won't remember the procedure or how lengthy it was. When a procedure will take longer than an hour and you know your child will have trouble sitting still, dental sedation is a good option.

Your Child Is Developing a Fear of Dental Visits

Finally, dental sedation can be a way for your child to avoid developing a fear of the dentist. The sedatives that are used for dental procedures help to reduce anxiety, which makes your child more comfortable during their dental visit.

By using dental sedation, your child can become more accustomed to visiting the dentist and having procedures completed without any fear, which helps reduce the chance that they'll develop severe dental anxiety. The effects of dental anxiety can be severe, as visiting the dentist regularly is an important part of maintaining good oral health—when anxiety makes someone avoid the dentist altogether, their oral health usually suffers as a result.

If your child has dental anxiety, consider finding a kids' sedation dentist. If you're worried about sedation, ask the dentist about the training that they've received and their experience using it with children. Kids' sedation dentistry is becoming quite popular, and many pediatric dentists have extensive experience using it in their practice. As a result, finding a pediatric dentist who is skilled in sedation dentistry is typically an easy task.