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Child Sedation Information | Types Sedation Dentistry offered by LADD Dental Group

Young children with dental pain and/or infection unfortunately require treatment at any age—sometimes that means your child will need to go under general anesthesia or sedation for said treatment. Of course, there are many reasons for this, and they will explain in full detail by your LADD Dental dentist. Some dental procedures require your child to lie completely still, there may be a lot to fix, or the noise of the drill may be scary or cause anxiety for your children. Our goal is always to provide the safest, and most pain-free treatment possible.

How Safe is Anesthesia or Sedation in Dental Procedures for Children?

In 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) released a clinical report with updated guidelines for dentists and oral surgeons to follow when providing sedation or anesthesia to children.
The following information provides an overview of the various types of sedation and anesthesia. It's important for parents to know their options. Talk with our dentists or oral surgeon about the type of sedation or anesthesia he or she recommends for your child's dental work before the appointment.  

Types of Sedation and Anesthesia Used on Children—Here are Your Different Options Offered at LADD Dental Group:

  • Nitrous oxide: This is a mild sedative and the least invasive. It's commonly known as 'giggle gas' or 'laughing gas.' Children breathe this with a little oxygen. They don't usually go to sleep, but most will get more relaxed. Most will get a little silly and lightheaded, but a few don't like the feeling.  
  • Mild sedationThis medication (or a combination of medications) are commonly used on older children and adults. Your child would be calm and awake—and sometimes able to do what the dentist or surgeon asks him or her to do. After the procedure, your child may not even remember things about the dental visit. Dentists and oral surgeons can safely give these medications while they do the dental work, because your child remains awake.
  • Moderate sedationUnder moderate sedation children are sleepier, but they are usually able to do what the dentist or oral surgeon asks them to do. They breathe on their own and will usually wake up easily. Most children will not remember anything about the procedure. Dentists and oral surgeons can safely give these medications while they do the dental work.
  • Deep sedationThis involves intravenous (IV) medications to help your child sleep through the procedure. While your child may still move a little and sometimes make noises, he or she may not be able to breathe well on his or her own. There should always be at least one additional qualified professional (see Who's Who list below) who can monitor your child's heart rate, heart rhythm, blood pressure, oxygen saturation (breathing) during the procedure and until he or she wakes up. This professional can also determine when your child is ready to go home.
  • General anesthesiaUnder general anesthesia, your child will be completely asleep and pain free. Specially-trained anesthesia professionals (physicians, dentists, or certified nurse anesthetists) will administer medications and monitor your child while the dentist or oral surgeon performs the dental procedure or surgery. Anesthesia can be given in a dental office that is specially equipped, an ambulatory surgical center (ASC), or a hospital.

Medication Administration During Children's Dental Procedures:

After you discuss the options for sedation and anesthesia with your child's dentist or oral surgeon, find out exactly who will be administering the medications and who will be watching your child during the dental procedure.
Here's an overview of the different medical and dental professionals who may be involved in your child's dental procedure. 
Note: The AAP and the AAPD recommend anesthesia professionals be with your child while the dentist or oral surgeon concentrates on the procedure. This person will deliver and monitor deep sedation and general anesthesia while the dentist or oral surgeon is performing dental surgery on your child. Other personnel may also be present to assist with deep sedation and general anesthesia or the dental surgery.​
  • General dentistHas completed college, dental school, and passed all required exams through a State Dental Board. A general dentist has also obtained a dental license through his or her state.
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeonCompletes an oral maxillofacial residency after dental school (4-6 years). Most oral and maxillofacial surgeons have a dental license, and some also have a medical license. In addition, some are granted a general anesthesia permit by a State Dental Board. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons may be board certified by taking and passing a national exam. 
  • Dental hygienist: Completes a 2-year dental hygiene degree after high school—usually an Associate's Degree. Some dental hygienists have additional education and training such as a Bachelor's Degree. They are licensed by their state and can give local anesthesia (numbing shots) in the mouth.
  • Dental assistant: No formal training is required. Training may be "on the job." There are also 10-12-month certificate programs. Dental assistants may be registered by their state dental board.
  • Dental sedation assistant: Requirements vary from state to state, but the dental sedation assistant can obtain a certificate allowing him or her to help watch patients under anesthesia. Certificates can be obtained via an online education program or at an approved on-site educational program. Dental assistants, however, cannot administer sedation or rescue medications on their own in a dental office. 

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