When children need restorative care for their teeth, it’s natural for young patients – and their parents – to have some anxiety about the process. Though our caring and patient staff is sometimes enough to take the edge off a worried young one, there are time when nitrous oxide, conscious sedation and sometimes outpatient general anesthesia are needed to facilitate the dental work. We evaluate each patient individually and make decisions about any type of anesthesia according to the child’s needs.
Here are some options we utilize in our office to help everyone feel more at ease:
Local Anesthesia is used for most restorative procedure. A topical anesthetic is used to help numb the area, and patients may feel a small “pinch” at the injection site.
Nitrous oxide (or laughing gas) is used to relax a mildly anxious child and is administered with oxygen during a restorative appointment. A small “elephant nose” or nasal hood is placed over the child’s nose with their preferred smell (cotton candy is always a favorite) and they are encouraged to breathe through their nose.
Conscious Sedation may be used depending on the complexity of the treatment. The child is typically given medication to drink to help make her drowsy, but it does not put her to sleep.
General Anesthesia is not used lightly and should take into consideration a child’s age, anxiety level, extensive treatment needs and emotional wellbeing. A licensed anesthesiologist must administer general anesthesia and be present throughout the procedure.
If your child requires some dental attention that may be a bit lengthy, or if she is worried about the procedure, don’t hesitate to ask your provider about all the options available to determine what is best for the situation.