Is Sedation Dentistry Safe for Kids?

Is Sedation Dentistry Safe for Kids?

Does your child need dental sedation during their next appointment? Then you, like most parents, are likely wondering how safe sedation truly is.


Check out this short blog post from Chula Vista Pediatric Dentistry to learn everything you need to know about sedation dentistry in pediatrics.


Why Does My Child Need Sedation?


Sedation can be a critical part of oral health, even for adults. It’s often used for children who:

  • Are too young to follow instructions and sit still in the dentist’s chair
  • Deal with a strong gag reflex
  • Are very anxious or scared during their appointment
  • Need lengthy or complex dental procedures, etc


The use of sedatives aims to help the child be comfortable and relaxed while getting dental care. 

It’s a separate method from local anesthesia, which is used to ensure the child doesn’t feel any pain during their appointment.


What Types of Dental Sedation Can Be Used for Children?


There are currently four types of dental sedation:


  • Nitrous oxide (laughing gas): A mild sedative inhaled during the appointment. Once the treatment is done, the patient inhales oxygen, which expels the gas faster. Patients leave the practice fully awake;

  • Oral conscious: A stronger sedative that involves taking medication shortly before the procedure. The effects can last a few hours and are used for more complex treatments;

  • IV sedation: Sedatives are delivered in a constant stream through an IV. It’s used when the patient needs a lengthy treatment to make sure the effects of the sedative don’t wear off before the procedure is complete. Effects can last as long as a day;

  • General anesthesia: This is the only sedation that puts patients to sleep. It’s used for major surgeries, and patients will be admitted for at least a day for monitoring.


Laughing gas is the most common type of sedation used in pediatric dentistry. It’s mild and doesn’t have any long-term side effects.


However, all three other sedation options may be used successfully for children if needed.


How Is the Type of Sedation Chosen?


Most commonly, children will be sedated through laughing gas, but there are cases when this sedation isn’t appropriate. If the child has a known allergy to nitrous oxide or is dealing with a lung condition, then oral consciousness may be more suitable.

The type of sedation your child will receive is established by a dentist after they carefully review the child’s medical history and take into account the dental treatment they need.


In either case, sedation is perfectly safe when administered by a trained professional in a controlled setting, like the dentist's office.


Sedation Dentistry at Chula Vista Pediatric Dentistry


Dr. Rene aims to ensure your child is perfectly comfortable during their appointment by providing several types of sedation options.


Find out which sedation is most suitable for your child by scheduling a consultation with Chula Vista Pediatric Dentistry today.

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