Many times, local anesthesia may not be necessary for a small dental restoration. When needed, to restore or remove a tooth, topical a topical anesthetic is placed in the area with a cotton swab and then the local anesthetic is injected using a small needle. We make a point to distract during this portion of the procedure as well as use child friendly vocabulary. You can help out by refraining from using the words "shot" or "needle" that might create unnecessary anxiety in your child.
Nitrous Oxide / Oxygen Sedation
Nitrous oxide, more often known as "laughing gas", is often used to reduce anxiety during some dental procedures. The gas is administered in combination with oxygen via a special scented nose hood, and has a calming effect that may help an anxious child to relax during the dental treatment. It is also helpful in patients with a strong gag reflex.
Nitrous oxide does not put the child to sleep, and they are fully conscious during the procedure. It is important for a child to be able to breath through his or her nose for the nitrous oxide to be effective. If your child is severely congested, treatment using nitrous oxide may have to be postponed.
After treatment, the nitrous oxide is turned off and the child is provided 100% oxygen administration for several minutes. The effects wear off almost immediately, and most patients are able to resume regular activities right away. Rarely, some patients, may experience nausea or headaches after the procedure.
Oral Conscious Sedation
In some situations, nitrous oxide / oxygen alone is not sufficient to adequately relax a child enough to be able to cooperate with necessary dental treatment. For those patients, we may sometimes suggest a medication call Versed (Midazolam). This medication is helpful in short dental procedures (usually lasting about an hour), but may not be sufficient to manage more extensive and longer procedures. Children with certain medical conditions may not be candidates for this type of sedation treatment, and a small percentage of children may actually become more agitated with the use of this medication.
General anesthesia may be recommended for children who have dental needs requiring extensive dental treatment, certain medical conditions, special health care needs, and for some children who are simply unable to cooperate with the traditional dental setting. With this technique, children are completely asleep and all dental treatment is completed at one time. This is performed under the skilled care of a pediatric anesthesiologist. Dr. Melissa performs these procedures in an outpatient surgery center or a traditional hospital setting. She is credentialed at several local facilities.
Zionsville Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Melissa McHenry DDS, MSD
55 Brendon Way, Suite 500 - Zionsville, IN 46077