Sedation for Kids & Teens

Since your child’s health is of the utmost importance to you, Dr. Mila Cohen approaches each appointment and procedure with tact. You have to be careful when dealing with kids to make them feel safe and comfortable. So your dentist walks your child through the different tools that are going to be used and how they’ll feel in your child’s mouth.

For most procedures, only a local anesthetic — in the form of a topical ointment or Novocain shot — is needed. But children who are very young, shy, fearful or uncooperative often need more than local anesthesia. Sedation dentistry allows children to receive the dental care they need with the added effect of reducing the traumatic components of the pain or psychological uncertainty they sometimes experience.

Three options your dentist can provide for your child are:

  • Laughing gas

  • Oral sedation

  • IV sedation

Experience and Training

Dentists that offer sedation have completed training in anesthesiology and additional training in anesthesia specifically for children. The techniques used are the same that are used in hospitals, so they’re exceedingly safe and effective. Your dentist assesses your children to be sure they qualify for sedation treatment. During the treatment, kids are monitored at the level of intensity used in operating rooms. Monitoring devices used are:

  • Electrocardiograms

  • Pulse oximeter

  • Breathing pattern monitoring

  • Blood pressure cuff

  • Temperature controls

  • Heart rate monitor

Your dentist determines which course of action is best depending on the behavior and emotions of your child and the type of procedure that needs to be completed. Your kids dentist explains to your child the procedures and what to expect. It’s better to allow the trained experts to explain the procedures because they’ve been trained in communicating in such a way that reduces anxiety and prevents unnecessary fear.


Sedation Is Safe

Incorrectly, some think that sedation might not be good for your child, but this is simply not the case. Anesthesia is safe for children. In the U.S., more than one million children under the age of four receive anesthesia each year. In fact, it’s typically more harmful to your child if you put off having a procedure done because of the fear of anesthesia.

In the past, if you had a child scared of dental procedures, you had the option of either forcing them to undergo a procedure that could leave lasting unpleasant memories or forgoing treating the dental issue — which could create serious complications later. Today, you have the option of sedation dentistry, which eliminates both of those undesirable options.


Sedation Options

Your child can receive needed care without having to suffer from fear or anxiety of a dental procedure such as a filling or a tooth extraction. Choose from three alternatives: laughing gas, oral sedation or IV sedation. Your kids dentist in NJ is available to answer any questions regarding the different types of anesthesia.

As the parent, you play an important role in the success of your kids’ dental procedures. One of the things you can offer them is understanding the treatments fully. Consider the sedation options, and you’ll be able to make an informed decision with the help of your dentist:

‘Laughing Gas’ Conscious Sedation

Laughing gas for kids, is a safe sedative that’s mild. It causes your child to be calm and sometimes giddy. To deliver the gas, your dentist places a mask over the face of your child. Typically, the effects are felt in less than five minutes. Your child remains conscious and aware throughout the entire procedure. Laughing gas gives a sense of happiness that contributes to your child’s relaxation.

Laughing gas conscious sedation is commonly recommended when the procedure requires that your child be relaxed, but not completely unconscious. Laughing gas for kids can be recommended when:

  • Procedures are particularly long

  • The procedure requires that your child sits relatively still

  • Your child is fearful

  • Your child struggles to sit still

  • Your child has special needs

After the procedure, your child breathes in oxygen through a similar mask, which helps clear the effects. Still, it may be several hours before the effects wear off completely. Dr. Mila Cohen of True Dental Care for Kids & Teens recommends that your child eat a light meal before receiving laughing gas. Kids can return to school after being treated with laughing gas and should be capable of participating in most normal activities after a few hours.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation is stronger than laughing gas for kids. It can be recommended for children with higher anxiety, when they aren’t cooperating, and if the procedure allows. A medication is taken orally which makes your child sleepy, but able to follow simple commands. The medication also allows for your child to be woken easily.

After the procedure, you may have to carry your child. Dr. Mila Cohen recommends a light meal for your child. Common side effects are minor and include nausea and vomiting. But these are temporary, and the benefits often outweigh the negatives.

IV Sedation

The strongest of sedations is general anesthesia. It’s delivered intravenously. This is recommended when:

  • Your child cannot calm down, even after other techniques have been tried.

  • The procedure is oral surgery and would be difficult for your child to sit through.

  • The procedure is long and would be difficult for your child to remain still.

  • Your child has disabilities.

  • Your child can’t understand directions or the importance of remaining still during the procedure.

It’s important that your child does not eat for six hours before IV sedation. Follow all the guidelines given to you before the procedure by your dentist. These guidelines keep your child safe, so take them seriously. If you or your child doesn’t follow the instructions, you may be refused treatment and have to set up a later appointment.

IV sedation today is very safe. You shouldn’t be worried, especially if you have a dentist. Dr. Mila Cohen helps teach you everything you need to know before any treatment. Sedation dentistry has allowed children to have more positive experiences regarding their dental health care.