Do you have a terrible time trying to get your child to the dentist? Do they fight you every step of the way? It may be fear that’s causing them to fight back but with sedation or sleep dentistry you can help put their mind at ease, reduce or eliminate their anxiety, and remove pain from the equation.
Dr. Guillen offers safe sedation for children and adults at his Westwood dentist office. While some parents may be hesitant at first to authorize sedation procedures for their children, these safe and effective treatment alternatives not only make trips to the dentist less traumatic for children, they allow Dr. Guillen and his helpful staff to get more accomplished in less time—which means fewer visits overall and less time in the chair.
When is Sedation Recommended?
Sedation dentistry for children can be used to help young patients with severe anxiety and aversion to the dentist’s chair. In these cases the sedatives help reduce anxiety and eliminate the fear that’s keeping your child’s mind on overdrive. In some cases children won’t even remember the procedure at all (which makes scheduling your next visit all that much easier).
However, very young children can benefit from sedation dentistry as well. They’re often unable to sit still long enough for detailed procedures. In these cases a very mild sedative with muscle relaxing properties can be administered to literally help them “sit” through the procedure.
Sedation can also be used safely in children with special needs. In this case a sedative would be used to prevent or reduce spontaneous movement—which may result in oral injuries. Mood enhancement (which is a natural effect of many of the sedatives used at our Westwood dental studio) can also help generate and maintain cooperative behavior, reducing the amount of time needed to complete a procedure and making the whole visit less stressful for the patient and the caregiver.
What Types of Sedation Are Used?
As with adult sedation dentistry, Dr. Guillen uses a variety of different medications at his Westwood dentist office. Each drug has a specific effect, half-life, and mode of delivery. Dr. Guillen will thoroughly assess each child’s medical history, factor in the expected length of any given procedure, and the child’s level of comfort before making a suggestion to you, the parent. Ultimately the choice to place a child under sedation rests in the hands of the parent or guardian, as it should.
Methods of Sedation Dentistry Used for Children
This type of mild sedation allows children to stay awake, alert, and continually communicate with the adults in the room while removing anxiety, decreasing pain, and making the procedure much more bearable. Delivery options for this type of sedation include:
- Nitrous Oxide (“Laughing Gas”)
- IV Sedation
- Nasal Sprays
In years past, general anesthetic (which renders a patient completely unconscious) was a common way for dentists to perform extensive or painful procedures. However, with the improvement of other forms of sedatives, general anesthetic is often a “last resort” used only when:
- A procedure cannot otherwise be performed safely.
- The child has a mental or physical condition which inhibits their ability to cooperate or follow instructions.
- The procedure is expected to last a long time or require extensive oral manipulation (such as certain types of oral surgery).
While general anesthetic is still acceptable in these cases, it does require more intensive preparation before the treatment and involves a longer period of recovery after. Therefore, Dr. Guillen prefers conscious sedation whenever possible at his Westwood dental studio.
You’re Always In Control
As always, you’re in control of every procedure and sedation option available to you. We invite you to contact us if you have any questions, concerns, or simply would like more information about the modern techniques available to help you and your children live with healthy, beautiful smiles.