Minimizing Fear: How to Prepare Your Child for Dental Sedation

April 25, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — hifivekidsdent @ 1:54 pm
a child receiving nitrous oxide dental sedation

Does your child experience dental anxiety that has left them feeling especially anxious about going to their checkup and cleaning or getting a treatment they need? While dental sedation for kids can be an excellent way to help calm the nerves while they’re in the treatment chair, preparing your child for what sedation feels like can help soothe their worries before their appointment. Read on to learn some worry-free ways to help you describe dental sedation and how to approach speaking to them about what they can expect.

When is Children’s Dental Sedation Recommended?

Just like with adults, dental sedation for children in Pickering is most helpful for patients who experience dental phobia, or fear or anxiety surrounding visiting the dentist. It’s also a great tool for those who have a very sensitive gag reflex, have difficulty sitting still in the dental chair, or for longer appointments that may involve more extensive treatments.

So, What Does Children’s Dental Sedation Feel Like?

The two most common types of in-office dental sedation offered to children are typically oral conscious and nitrous oxide sedation. Which one is recommended by your pediatric dentist will depend on a number of factors, like what treatment they’ll be receiving and the severity of their dental phobia. However, both achieve similar effects, one lasting longer than the other.

Nitrous oxide is administered through a small nose mask during your child’s appointment. The effects will begin shortly after they begin breathing in the nitrous oxide. It often causes patients to feel giggly, floaty, and sometimes a tingling sensation in their limbs. Most people describe nitrous oxide as a euphoric sensation.

Oral conscious sedation is often administered before the appointment or as soon as your child gets to the office. It can take up to an hour for the effects to fully kick-in, typically resulting in a more drowsy and relaxed feeling. These effects can linger for eight hours or so following their visit, and many patients report having a fuzzy memory of what took place afterwards.

How Can You Explain Dental Sedation to Your Child?

With children, using positive language that doesn’t invoke extra fear is key when describing what dental sedation will feel like for them. Avoid projecting your own fears onto them as well, stating facts and using neutral language to describe how they may feel. For example, let them know that visiting the tooth doctor will help make their teeth strong and happy, and that when they go, they’ll put a magical mask on them that may make them feel goofy or sleepy. Making it sound like a fun and exciting experience, while also letting them know what to expect is the ideal goal when describing sedation to your little one.

As a parent, helping your child feel prepared and comfortable with receiving dental sedation is a big feat to take on by yourself. If you feel like you could use a little extra support, remember that your little one’s pediatric dentist is a great resource during this time, too! With the right support and informative explanation, your child will hopefully feel much more relaxed throughout their entire appointment.

About the Author

Dr. Maria Murad is a proud Torontonian and mother of three children. She completed her specialty training in pediatric dentistry following her dental education at University of Texas Health Science Centre, and she takes an evidence-based approach to care. She follows the latest pediatric guidelines from the Canadian and American Academies of Pediatric Dentistry and offers both oral conscious and nitrous oxide sedation for children. In addition to sedation, Dr. Murad and her team take extra care when speaking and interacting with anxious patients to help them feel more relaxed and not overwhelmed. For questions or to schedule an appointment, visit HiFive Kids Dental & Braces’ website or call 289-302-6065.

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