Are Dental Sedation Methods Safe for Children?

Nearly all the children agree on one front: visits to the dentist are terrifying. It isn’t hard to predict why the dentist’s chair and machinery can seem very intimidating. Worse, most dental treatments inherently mean a lot of pain.  The worrisome aspect of this is that many children are now not visiting the dentist at all. Last year, studies carried out in the UK say that over 80% of children from ages one to two did not visit the dentist at all.

Dental Sedation for Children
This circumstance is very scary because a child’s teeth are especially sensitive. Through the ages of one to twelve, as they begin getting and losing their milk teeth, their dental hygiene gains paramount importance. Research finds that dental health can lead to a variety of other health issues children face, including weakened immunity. If their teeth grow irregularly and a dentist does not see them, it can cause major complications in the long run. Plus, children enjoy candies so much, that they are likely to contract cavities and germs in their teeth at this age. Avoiding the dentist is simply not advisable.

A Possible Solution: Dental Sedation

A much better option is to find ways that can make dentist appointments painless and comfortable. This is where dental sedation comes into the picture. Dental sedation is a current procedure that most dentists can perform Sedation Dentistry, or have performed by an anesthesiologist. It involves mildly sedating a patient so that they are not nervous or stressed during a dental examination. This also stops them from feeling any pain. When performed by qualified practitioners, dental sedation is a very safe procedure for children.

Types of Sedation That Are Suitable for Children

There are different types of dental sedation. These mainly differentiate according to the kind of procedure being performed on a child. Unlike popular belief, sedation rarely means the full and complete loss of consciousness. Mostly, it actually works to calm a patient’s nerves and to prevent them from feeling any pain. Most common forms of sedation, like oral and nitrous sedation, children are mostly awake through the process. With more advanced surgery, intravenous sedation becomes a better option. Here is what you need to know about each of these forms, to gauge how safe they are for small children.

Oral sedation: Oral sedation is the simplest form of sedation. In this, a patient simply has to take in a mild dose of sedative through the nose or the mouth. Under its effects, patients descend into a light haze that lets them be completely unaffected. Its effects last a short period of time, and patients do not lose consciousness because of it. Most dentists use this method as a way of calming patients with a severe phobia of dentists and dental procedure. When accompanied by painless drills like the Easy IO Drill, dental procedures become easy and uncomplicated for everyone concerned. Due to its limited effects, oral sedation is mostly used for simple and uncomplicated dental procedures, like filling in cavities or whitening teeth. This makes it ideal for children, however, as these are the routine procedures for most children. Plus, the low dose of oral sedatives means that they are very safe for most children.

Nitrous sedation: An alternative to oral sedation is nitrous sedation. This process also involves taking in sedatives orally and through the nose, but in gaseous form. Nitrous sedation involves inhaling a prescribed dose of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas. Inhaling nitrous oxide acts on the hippocampus and makes people feel euphoric. As a result, patients begin laughing and this reduces their fears.  Before nitrous sedation, for children, however, it is necessary to make some prescribed dietary and water changes. This is because some children exhibit symptoms of nausea after inhaling it.


Intravenous sedation: Dentists use intravenous sedation in cases of complicated surgery. While this is rarely applicable when it comes to children, in the cases it is, this form is equally safe. It involves administering anesthesia or sedatives through an IV Drip and is administered by a trained anesthesiologist. Its effects last much longer, and it can render patients in an unconscious state. This enables doctors to carry out complicated surgery without causing pain or terror for people. In the case of young children, dentists recommend a hospital observation period after it is administered and surgery is performed.


All in all, no matter the method, dental sedation is fairly safe for children. However, it is important to consider different things before opting for such a procedure, such as any known allergies that a child may suffer from, or a dentist’s skills and qualifications. Armed with this knowledge, you can make a safe and healthy choice for your child.


Dental Health and Children


Children are especially susceptible to poor dental health. Junk food, weak immunity, improper diet and the formative years means that their teeth can easily become damaged. For a holistic upbringing and proper dental health, it is important that children regularly visit the dentist. Other things that parents can try for their child’s dental wellbeing is practising brushing twice a day, flossing after meals and controlling their sugar intake. If your child is particularly disposed to poor dental health, you can consider getting dental sealants. Dental sealants are thin membranes that dentists paint onto the back molars of children. These act as a protective shield that prevents cavities and bacteria from harming your child’s teeth. With mild oral dental sedation, this becomes a painless process!


With dental sedation, your child’s visits to the dentist do not have to be a horror story. Instead, it can be a psychologically and physically healthy experience, that helps your child grow in the best way possible!



Author Since:  December 14, 2018

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