What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry has grown in popularity as a safe and effective way for those with dental anxiety or who can’t sit still while in the dentist’s chair to rest easy as they receive the dental care needed to maintain good oral health. It has become a game changer for those who are afraid of needles, have a strong gag reflex, low pain threshold, or overly sensitive teeth. It can also be a great option for anyone needing a large amount of dental work done or have had past traumatic dental experiences. At Palmetto Kids Dentistry, we use several sedation techniques for children based on their individual needs.
What types of sedation are used?
Many children are receptive to “laughing gas”, or nitrous oxide mixed with oxygen, a minimal sedation option. It’s administered through a “candy nose.” Children breathe the laughing gas through their nose to calm and relax them throughout the dental procedure. During this type of sedation, the patients are kept awake and are able to watch TV for some added comfort and distraction. Dr. Kimberly and her experienced team will monitor the flow of gas to ensure the appropriate dose is being inhaled and will also use local anesthesia on the specific area being worked on. The gas will be flushed from your child’s system at the end of the appointment so they won’t be left feeling groggy, just slightly numb as the local anesthesia wears off.
A more moderate sedation option is oral sedation. Adults generally take a pill—usually Halcion, which is in the same drug family as Valium—but at PKD, kids will drink a liquid. It’s important that patients do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before and they take it easy for the rest of the day as they recover after the procedure. Oral sedation is still a conscious sedation, but will make your child drowsy. They may sleep lightly and will probably not remember much of the procedure. It is used in combination with laughing gas and numbing medication so there is very little discomfort throughout the entire appointment.
The next level of sedation is that of general anesthesia where the pediatric anesthesiologist will come into the office for more complex procedures such as tooth extractions. Your child will be given laughing gas initially to make them comfortable. When the IV is placed, the sedatives take effect quickly, causing a deep sleep. The dental anesthesiologist will carefully monitor your child’s vital signs while Dr. Kimberly completes the treatment needed. IV sedation ensures that all of the work needed can be taken care of at one time, making for fewer visits to the dentist office. Patients do not feel anything and will be completely unconscious for the duration of the procedure. Most wake up feeling relaxed without any numbness.
Who is a candidate for sedation dentistry?
Determining if your child is a candidate for sedation dentistry begins with a dental visit for a consultation. Every child is different so Dr. Kimberly will meet with you and your child and discuss details during your visit, and learn if they have any fears or anxiety, and whether complex dental treatment is needed. She will share her thoughts and recommendations about what avenue is best for your child.
If more extensive procedures are needed requiring deep sedation, Dr. Kimberly will go through a more thorough medical history screening to assess any risk. Age and weight and other health factors are considered, like making sure your child does not have enlarged tonsils or obstructive sleep apnea which would cause complications while under anesthesia. Your child’s pediatrician may also be consulted in order to determine if they are a good candidate for sedation dentistry.
How safe is sedation dentistry?
Dr. Kimberly and her team have been trained according to the American Dental Association’s guidelines to administer sedation to children in a safe and effective way. She will craft a personalized plan for your child to correct any dental issues and relieve pain, all in an anxiety-free environment. All of your concerns will be addressed and your questions answered so you can make the best choice for your child.
Do you accept insurance?
We do! PKD files with most major insurance companies. These include Delta Dental, Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, MetLife, Assurant, Cigna, and Ameritas. Please make an appointment today to see what all services are covered under your plan! Be sure to bring your insurance card(s) and a photo ID to your appointment.