Anesthesia or Sedation for Your Children’s Dental Work?

Posted on March 24, 2023 | Hot Topics

Anesthesia or Sedation for Your Children’s Dental Work?

Anesthesia or Sedation for Your Children’s Dental Work?

Dental pain and infection often require treatment, even in young children. This sometimes means that your child may need to go under general anesthesia or sedation. There are many reasons why this may be the best option for your child. Some children have high dental anxiety, extensive treatment needs, or special health care needs, all of which would require the child to be sedated or asleep to safely treat. Our goal is to always provide the safest, highest quality dental treatment for children, and to do this in a way that allows kids to have a positive view of the dentist.

Is Anesthesia or Sedation for Dental Procedures Safe for Children?

In 2019, the guidelines for dentists and oral surgeons to follow when providing deep sedation or general anesthesia to children was updated by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. 

This update requires that there are always at least two trained individuals in the room that are trained to  provide advanced life support measures if needed. One of these people will be the dentist or oral surgeon performing the procedure and the other will be an independent observer. This independent observer must be “a physician anesthesiologist, a certified registered nurse anesthetist, a second oral surgeon or a dentist anesthesiologist.” Here at Blossom we are lucky to work with an anesthesiologist that comes into our office monthly and has made access to anesthesia so much quicker and easier for our patients! Dr. Harry Miller is a board certified anesthesiologist, and has over 30 years of experience providing anesthesia for pediatric dental patients.  

Below is information that provides an overview of different types of sedation and anesthesia. As a parent, it is important that you understand your options and talk with your child’s dentist or oral surgeon about their recommendation for your child’s specific dental work before the appointment. 

Types of Sedation and Anesthesia Used at Blossom:

Nitrous Oxide: This is the least invasive; a mild anxiolytic (anxiety reducer). Commonly known as “laughing gas,” this is administered with a mask on the nose. They typically  don’t go to sleep, but will likely relax more. Kids may get a slight floating sensation or feel a little silly during treatment. All nitrous oxide is completely flushed out of the body after treatment, so it’s perfectly safe for kids to return to school after treatment with nitrous.

Mild Sedation: This is a medication that is commonly used in older children or adults. That patient would be awake but calm and may even be able to do what the dentist or surgeon asks them to do. After the dental procedure, the patient may not even remember things about the visit. 

Moderate Sedation: Under this type of sedation, children are sleepier but still usually able to do what the dentist or surgeon asks them to do. Older children and young adults usually do better with moderate sedation than young or fearful children. During this sedation, they breathe on their own and usually wake up easily but most likely will not remember anything about the procedure. 

General Anesthesia: General anesthesia allows your child to be completely asleep and pain free during treatment. Specially trained anesthesia professionals will administer these medications and monitor your child while a separate dentist or oral surgeon performs the procedure or surgery. Anesthesia is provided in a dental office that is specially equipped; just like our office here at Blossom!

An anesthesia professional must be present to help care for any child receiving deep sedation or general anesthesia. 

If you have any questions about sedation or anesthesia services offered at Blossom, call us at 734-971-3368.


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