Sedation Dentistry Demystified

At South Valley Pediatric dentistry, we know that cavities and fillings can be frightening for children, so we do everything in our power to make children feel comfortable and calm while they have dental treatment done. Sometimes this means one of our dentists will propose a treatment plan that includes sedation in one form or another. In children with high anxiety, very young children, or patients with special needs, sedation dentistry can help them get dental work done which they otherwise would not be able to sit still for. However, parents sometimes find that sedation appointments can feel unfamiliar and frightening. We strive to provide all the information necessary to help parents feel at ease about these various treatment options, and the benefits and risks of each type of sedation.

Our dentists may suggest one of three types of sedation depending on the age, comfort level, special needs, and behavioral history of your child:

sleeping child with a stuffed animal
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Option 1: Oral Sedation

Dr. Chamberlain and Dr. Bower often recommend Oral Sedation for children who fight their initial dental cleanings and examinations. During an Oral Sedation, children swallow medicine which calms them down and makes them very sleepy. Sometimes Oral Sedation will put the child completely to sleep, but often they will stay slightly alert, which allows the dentist to communicate with them during treatment. This mild form of sedation generally works well for children who need a little help to make the visit less scary.

Option 2: In-Office IV Sedation

If necessary, the dentist may instead advise an IV sedation to be done in our office. During an IV sedation an anesthesiologist comes to our office. He or she will administer medicine through a small shot, which puts the child completely asleep. To help the child ignore this unpleasant poke, a dental assistant will encourage the child to pick out a prize while the anesthesiologist gives the medicine. Often patients are not even aware that they’ve had a shot. Once the child is completely asleep, the anesthesiologist monitors breathing and heart rate while the dentist completes all necessary dental work.

Option 3: Hospital Visit

Occasionally, very young children (especially those younger than three), patients with special needs, or children who need extensive dental treatment may go to the hospital for a sedation. The hospital has doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologists available in case of emergency in addition to your usual dentist and dental assistants, who will preform all dental work under IV sedation

Trauma Free Dentistryfloating cartoon fairy with closed eyes holding a tooth

All three forms of sedation have the added benefit of allowing the child to partially or completely forget the experience, which means they won’t have continuing fear of their dentist or dental office. Not every child requires sedation dentistry, but for those who do, having sedation options available can make dental work go much more smoothly. For more information about the various types of sedations we offer, call our office at 801-489-1301. Our staff is happy to address any questions or concerns regarding sedation appointments.

Comment on "Sedation Dentistry Demystified"

  1. […] Depending on the age, comfort level and behavior of your child, a dentist may recommend using nitrous oxide (commonly known as laughing gas) in combination with either of these treatments to make the patient feel more at ease. Additionally, pediatric dentists, like those at South Valley Pediatric Dentistry, often use sedation methods to calm patients with high anxiety, very young patients, and/or patients with extensive treatment needs. I will discuss the three main sedation methods we use at South Valley Pediatric Dentistry in our next blog post. […]

  2. […] history, and any other pertinent factors. For more information on sedation appointments, read this post which describes the three sedation options we use in our office, or give us a call at […]

  3. […] our articles at SVPDkids are chalk full of facts and information on dental health and the services offered by South Valley Pediatric Dentistry. But our love affair with healthy teeth goes deeper than […]

  4. […] further decay. If older patients experience dental anxiety, we recommend laughing gas, Valium or sedation to assist with […]

  5. […] further decay. If older patients experience dental anxiety, we recommend laughing gas, Valium or sedation to assist with […]

  6. […] to fit individual patient needs. From working around busy schedules to offering a wide array of sedation options, South Valley Pediatric Dentistry was designed to cater to diverse needs and circumstances. We […]

  7. […] only matter if we are able to provide competent, evidence-based dental care, from cleanings to sedations and everything in between. We know that by hiring a great team, educating and training them with […]

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