Many people suffer from anxiety at the dentist and patients can be given dental sedation to see them through the appointment in a consciously relaxed state. Patients can readily progress through their appointments with sedation to get used to visiting the dentist. Sedation has also helped cure dental anxiety for those who suffer from it.
One of the questions raised by the dental community is whether sedation dentistry is safe for children. Children are more than likely to suffer from fear and anxiety even at their first appointment. Whilst there are helpful tips for parents to prepare their child for the dentist to help them relax and stay as happy as possible, sometimes this may not work. Children are different physically, psychologically and emotionally and therefore, sedation procedures applied to adults will not work on children.
However, dental sedation is available for children in the form of inhalation sedation, which is a light form of sedation where children can breathe through a nosepiece. It is also given the term “happy air”. It is also important to note that inhalation sedation is not a form of local anaesthesia.
The Inhalation Process
Below is a typical inhalation sedation process that keeps children feeling relaxed and happy when visiting the dentist.
- Discuss The Concerns – A conversation between the parent and the dentist is likely to occur so the dentist is aware of any outstanding concerns. It is important the dentist knows this, so they know how to manage the child at their appointment. The dentist will reiterate the safety approaches of inhalation sedation before applying it to the child’s nose.
- Place The Equipment On The Nose – A small mask is applied over the child’s nose, where they breathe through the nosepiece which contains a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. It is important to note that this form of sedation will keep the child in a relaxed and conscious state. The child will begin to feel relaxed and warm.
- Remove After Treatment – Once the check-up appointment is complete, the dentist will safely remove the nosepiece of the child’s nose and request them to slowly lift themselves off the lying position. The dentist will observe the child before asking them to come off the dental chair. Once the observation is complete, the appointment is complete.
It is important to note that inhalation sedation treatment is only necessary for a child who is uncomfortable and showing signs of anxiety before the check-up. However, it is solely at the parent’s discretion to agree to use the sedation apparatus. The advantage of using this treatment is so the dentist can comfortably and quickly perform the check-up procedure in a shorter time frame. Inhalation sedation is a highly successful procedure. The dentist may also recommend further tips to reduce your child’s anxiety to use to prepare them for their next visit.