Overcome Your Child’s Fear of the Dentist with Sedation Dentistry

July 2, 2021

We like to think of ourselves at Let’s Smile Dental as superheroes tasked with protecting your child’s smile or some other dental do-gooders who swoop in to polish and shine their teeth while battling the big baddie - tooth decay! Of course, there are those who imagine us as boogie men whose only enjoyment out of life is to scare little kids with our loud machines and sharp instruments. We’re kidding, but for some kids, a trip to the dentist is seriously filled with anxiety and fear - no matter how gentle we can be or pleasant we try to make the experience. It’s normal to have some trepidation when visiting a dentist even for a routine checkup, but for a few the idea of a dental chair is just too much to bear.

In these cases, Let’s Smile Dental has a solution to help ease the apprehension of dental appointments: sedation dentistry.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Simply put, sedation dentistry is using medication during a dental procedure to help a patient feel relaxed in the dental chair and be as comfortable as possible. Although sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry,” patients are usually awake during the procedure except in the rare case where they need to be put under general anesthesia.

Is it safe for kids?

If a child is absolutely terrified of going to the dentist and cannot relax enough to cooperate with the dentist, sedation is a good option. All of our pediatric dentists have completed special training in order to provide this type of oral sedation to children. Our dentists always take into account your child’s age and weight when determining the correct dosage and will speak with you about the different sedation options so that you are involved in helping to decide what is the right course of action for your child. All of that said, at Let’s Smile we use oral sedation sparingly - if it’s not necessary, there’s no need to introduce additional medication to your child’s system.

What types of sedation are used?

There are many different types of sedation dentistry techniques. The ones that we use are:

Inhaled minimal sedation - The most common is inhalation of nitrous oxide. You might know this method as using laughing gas. And for good reason! People describe the effect as feeling calm. The actual gas used is nitrous oxide combined with oxygen given by the dentist through a gas mask that is placed over the nose. This is a very mild and minimal form of sedation.

Oral sedation- Used for minimal to moderate sedation. This is typically administered in liquid form and is given to the patient about half an hour before the procedure. This form of sedation will make your child drowsy, but they will still be awake. The dosage is adjusted for the child’s age and weight, and the level of sedation needed. All children are prescreened to ensure they qualify for this form of sedation.

IV sedation - A stronger form of sedation is given through an IV directly into the patient's bloodstream, enabling it to work more quickly. It is administered by a dental anesthesiologist who can continually adjust the level of sedation throughout the procedure. When IV sedation is used, all of the work required for the procedure will be done in one visit. Unlike the other forms of sedation, the patient is not awake during the procedure. All children are prescreened to ensure they qualify for this form of sedation.

We think that going to the dentist should be a fun experience for kids to promote a lifetime of oral health. (Hey, we’re here every single day!) We also understand how some children can become anxious and uncooperative when it comes to dental visits. That’s why we offer sedation dentistry options so that even the most reluctant patient can still relax enough to get a thorough checkup and the oral care that they need.

Is your child afraid of the dentist? Click below to schedule an appointment or call us today at 703-783-9702 to talk about sedation dentistry.



Keep your little one smiling by joining our 7&Up Club

7&Up Club members enjoy complimentary yearly check ups from Let's Smile's board-certified orthodontists, fun gifts once they sign up and on their birthday as well as many perks from local businesses!  Keep your child’s dental health on track and set them up for a lifetime of smiles :)

Club members also receive special discounts on retainer replacements, teeth whitening kits and more!

Click here to learn more about our 7&Up Club and to join it!

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