According to the CDC, 20 percent of small children have untreated tooth decay. This might not only impact your child’s desire to eat certain healthy foods like apples; it can cause lasting damage to the permanent teeth. Establishing the importance of dental care early sets your child up for a healthier smile into adulthood, but if your child has dental anxiety, it’s more difficult to keep dental appointments and learn healthy dental care habits. Sedation dentistry can help your child overcome fear and get the most out of their dental visits. Let’s explore the benefits of sedation.
1. Reduces appointment anxiety
Does your child cry, scream, or hide when it’s time to visit the dentist? While this behavior may be inconvenient as you’re trying to load him or her into the car, this is a healthy, age-appropriate emotional response to how the child is feeling about their upcoming appointment. They’re expressing the fact that they’re beginning to develop anxiety around dental visits. While some children may be fine receiving traditional dental care at Dentistry for Children, sedation is just one more way we can put your child at ease so that visits are less of an ordeal before, during, and after.
2. Reduces lifelong dentist anxiety
You’ve seen the dentist cliches on TV, and we have too. Many healthy children have never needed a medical procedure during their lifetime so far, so the dentist is their first experience with what can be unpleasant regardless of how gentle Dr. Sina and her team are. While it’s the goal of all staff to make dental visits positive, this can create lifelong fear, anxiety, and even phobia-level avoidance that could hinder that child from proper dental care now and once they reach adulthood. Sedation dentistry can help your child build positive memories around the dentist that make going to the dentist easier as they get older.
3. A pain-free experience
For a young child who has received few shots that they can remember, traditional local anesthetic needles can be scary and excruciating and, on top of that, local anesthetic doesn’t remove all of the the discomfort of having the jaw held open or the pain of dental procedures. Sedation dentistry ensures a calm, pain-free experience for your child whether they’re having a cleaning of a filling.
4. Faster and better treatment
Let’s face it: children squirm. They try so hard to do what the adults tell them, but it’s not easy to stay still while a stranger works in the mouth. Despite the skill of your pediatric dentist, this may impact the amount of time it takes to complete cleanings and it may impact the quality of that cleaning. Sedation dentistry is just one more tool that an experienced dentist like Dr. Sina can use to help your child get the most out of a visit to the dentist.
How does sedation work?
During the visit, one of Dr. Sina’s team members places an oxygen mask over your child’s face so that your child can breathe in odorless, colorless nitrous oxide, which causes a deep feeling of mental calmness and little to no physical sensation, but not to the point of falling asleep. Dr. Sina keeps the gas on and closely monitors the level of sedation to maintain this relaxed state. Once she completes the procedure, she turns the gas off, and within minutes, your child returns to a normal awakened state with some residual drowsiness that may last for a short time. Your child shouldn’t go back to school after a visit, however, and Dr. Sina recommends that you schedule the appointment in such a way that your child can take a nap afterward.
Help your child develop positive feelings around proper dental care, and stop the fights about going to the dentist with sedation dentistry. Contact Dentistry for Children to schedule an appointment.