Pediatric Sedation


Dental Anxiety and Sedation

Anxious—afraid or nervous especially about what may happen. This describes many patients’ feelings before they go to a dentist office; however, some people have “dental anxiety,” which causes them to avoid the dentist office altogether.

Dental anxiety differs for each person, but some common symptoms are apparent:

  • Trouble sleeping the night before a dentist appointment
  • Dental ToolsIncreased anxiety at the dentist office, especially when a patient sees dental instruments or the dentist
  • Feeling sick thinking about the dental exam
  • Difficulty breathing while in the dental chair

These symptoms can deter patients from going to the dentist, which also hurts their oral health. To help patients relax during treatment, many dentist offices are offering sedation dentistry. At South Miami Pediatric Dental Associates, sedation dentistry is available, so patients can finally relax in the dental chair.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is dentistry that provides patients with medicine that helps a patient relax and/or feel sleepy. This specific technique is called “conscious sedation,” which means the patient is awake during the treatment. In most cases, the patient won’t remember the dental experience, but he/she will be able to respond to voices and maintain his/her reflexes while under sedation.

There are three common ways to administer sedation medicine:

  • Analgesics - These are also called pain relievers and include common non-narcotic medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin. Analgesics are usually used for mild cases of discomfort, and are typically prescribed following such procedures as a root canal or tooth extraction.
     
  • Anesthetics - Anesthetics can either be topically applied, injected or swallowed. Dentists often apply topical anesthetics with a cotton swab to an area of the mouth where a procedure such as a restoration will be performed. This numbs the affected area. Topical anesthetics are used in many dental procedures such as tooth restoration. Topical anesthetics also are used to prepare an area for injection of an anesthetic. Septocaine and Lidocaine are the most common kind of injectable anesthetics in pediatric dentistry.  Such medications block the nerves from transmitting signals and are used for more major types of procedures, such as fillings and root canals.
     
  • Sedatives - Sedatives are medications designed to help a patient relax. This can be a powerful tool in avoiding pain. Sedatives are sometimes used in combination with other types of pain relievers and pain-killers. Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is a form of sedative. Conscious sedation involves administering a sedative while the patient is alert and awake. Deep sedation or general anesthesia involves administering a medication that places a patient in a state of monitored and controlled unconsciousness.

Types of sedatives include:

  • Intravenous (IV) sedation - Usually in the form of a tranquilizing agent); patients given IV sedation are often awake, but very relaxed.
     
  • Inhalation sedation - A form of sedation in which a medication (such as nitrous oxide) is administered through a special mask.
  • Other types of sedation techniques are general anesthesia and shots. These are performed under careful supervision.

If your child is anxious about the dentist, our sedation dentistry team will make them feel at ease. Call us today at (305) 666-2068 to schedule an appointment at our South Miami, FL pediatric dental office. 

 
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