While many dental procedures can be carried out without any type of medication or with only local anesthetic, sometimes your child may need a little help to relax and be still enough to complete their dental work. Smile Time Kids makes every effort to keep children calm, comfortable, and confident in his office, but when that isn’t enough, you child may occasionally need to be administered a sedative or anesthetic.
Children who may need help to stay calm and still during a dental visit include those who:
- Are especially anxious about visiting the dentist
- Have a strong gag reflex that interferes with dental treatment
- Are unable to sit still due to age, health problems, or developmental disabilities
If your child falls into one of these categories, Smile Time Kids will consult with you about sedation or anesthesia. Depending upon the exact procedure and the needs of your child, Smile Time Kids may recommend either conscious sedation or general anesthesia.
If your child needs help to relax and to communicate freely, Smile Time Kids recommends conscious sedation. Conscious sedation involves administering nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. Once sedated, your child will be calm, relaxed, and cheerful. This is a good solution for children who are afraid of the dentist or the procedure they’re about to undergo, and also for children with a strong gag reflex.Nitrous oxide is safe and effective when properly administered by a qualified medical professional. It is delivered by a mask worn over the nose, in a mixture with oxygen. Your child will receive a dose appropriate to their size and weight, which will dull any pain and allow them to relax without putting them to sleep. Nitrous oxide leaves the body quickly after the flow is turned off, and the effects wear off within minutes.
Some children become anxious when visiting the dentist’s office and aren’t able to sit still long enough to receive a proper cleaning or other treatments. We can put them at ease with these sedation options.
For more extensive dental treatment, and for children who are unable to cooperate during the entire procedure even under sedation, Smile Time Kids may recommend general anesthesia. General anesthesia induces unconsciousness in your child, so they they sleep through their dental work. Procedures requiring general anesthesia take place at our partner office, in Indianapolis, on a slightly different schedule than in-office visits. If your child needs anesthesia, Smile Time Kids will consult with you to schedule a time. Treatment under general anesthesia will be provided under the direction of pediatric dentist Dr. Michelle Edwards.