Sedation and Pediatric Dentistry: When to Use It and What to Expect

One of the benefits of pediatric dentistry (Vista) is connecting your child with an oral health expert who understands the unique needs of young patients. Not only is our pediatric dentist in Vista skilled in providing gentle, age-appropriate dentistry for developing smiles, but she also offers sedation options when children need an extra level of comfort.

With pediatric sedation dentistry, you visit a pediatric dentist near you who provides in-house services that a general family dentist might not.

When to Use Dental Sedation for Children

Sedation dentistry is used for a variety of reasons, all of which vary from one child to the next. Here are a few examples of when Dr. Houri may suggest adding sedation to your child’s appointment:

Your child is/has:

  • Special needs that prevent them from sitting through a typical procedure
  • Young and unable to understand what’s going on
  • Numerous restorative needs that can be completed in one appointment, rather than multiple visits
  • Complex oral health concerns that are best treated in a more comfortable setting
  • Anxiety or fear of the dental office in general
  • Severe infection or pain that makes dental care seem scary or uncomfortable

When our pediatric dentist incorporates sedation into your child’s treatment plan, we’re typically able to perform all of the care they need (or at least the majority of it) in one appointment. This is especially useful if your child has aggressive tooth decay, severe dental phobia, or special needs.

By “catching up” on your child’s dental care under sedation, we can stabilize their oral health status and make it easier to maintain in the future. That way their ongoing checkups and other visits can be shorter and less “involved”, per se. Utilizing sedation is a great way to jump-start your child’s path toward better oral health so that you and your family can maintain it more effectively in the future.

Types of Pediatric Dental Sedation We Offer

Not all pediatric dental sedation treatments works the same way. Depending on your child’s care needs, age, and comfort level, we may recommend one of these two types of methods:

Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas) — Laughing gas is a light and effective analgesic that can give some children a case of the giggles. Nitrous oxide sedation is fast-acting and completely reversible in a matter of minutes. We use it on most restorative treatments, such as fillings or crowns, because it helps children feel at ease so that they don’t care as much about what’s going on around them. Although your child is still fully conscious and able to talk to us, the nitrous oxide will make them feel a bit loopy.

General Sedation — In some cases, children will require medically necessary dental care that, if not treated, can compromise their health. But if a child is too anxious or physically unable to sit through the procedure, deeper sedation will ensure the visit is expedited in a safe manner. In instances involving general sedation, we bring a licensed anesthesiologist into our office rather than take your child to an intimidating hospital setting. General sedation is extremely safe and effective, and having an anesthesiologist oversee the procedure allows Dr. Houri to focus on completing the absolute best care possible for your child.

Is Sedation Right for Your Child?

During your dental exam and consultation with Dr. Houri, we’ll discuss whether or not sedation can be beneficial and which type is best for your child. We’re happy to answer any questions that you may have!

Sedation and Pediatric Dentistry Near Vista

All Smiles Children’s Dentistry serves pediatric patients of all ages and backgrounds. Dr. Houri is a Diplomat of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry who specializes in oral health services for children — including those with special needs and extreme dental phobia — right here in Vista.

Schedule your child’s visit at All Smiles Children’s Dentistry today to learn more about how we can make their care experience both comfortable and enjoyable!

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