A major part of maintaining dental health for both kids and adults is prevention. Prevention encompasses the daily routines of brushing and flossing that are vital, and furthermore prevention includes biannual checkups and professional cleanings.

Unfortunately, the longer you put off trips to the dentist, the more likely your child is to need even more dental work. Is fear, anxiety, or dread preventing your kids from receiving the dental care you know they need? Sedation dentistry may be exactly what your child needs. Here, we’ve lined out the five major reasons why sedation dentistry can help your kids (all these reasons can be applied to adults suffering dental anxiety as well).

1. Sedation Can Quell a Sensitive Gag Reflex

The gag reflex is a protective instinct of our bodies. It serves to protect the airway from choking and help expel any food or substance that our body believes may be dangerous. While gagging has a natural learning curve as our children begin eating solid foods, some kids have a more sensitive gag reflex than others.

A sensitive gag reflex can inhibit even simple dental procedures such as a cleaning and make the experience deeply uncomfortable for your child and more time consuming because of the interruption and necessary moment for recovery. Even a low level of sedation can help suppress the sensitivity of the gag reflex thereby allowing your pediatric dentist and/or dental hygienist to work carefully and quickly with the minimum amount of discomfort for your child.

If you know or suspect that your child has a sensitive gag reflex, please tell us about it. We can inform you about available sedation options that are appropriate to address this concern.

2. Sedation Helps Dental Procedures Proceed More Quickly

We are committed to providing your child with a positive dental experience. We demonstrate that by the time and thought we invested in creating an inviting atmosphere in our offices, and selecting staff who love children and have completed the appropriate training and certifications to work in a pediatric dentistry. We spend time, gladly, to provide for the comfort and reassurance of your child while in our offices. This is our job and we do not begrudge the time necessary to ensure your child feels secure. Nevertheless, for children who are anxious, or who struggle to sit still for a procedure, sedation dentistry is typically a time saver. Sedation dentist will allow the procedure to move along smoothly with little to no disturbances or interruptions.

3. Sedation Can Have a Positive Side Effect of Anterograde Amnesia

You may be wondering why amnesia can be considered a positive side effect. For some kids the combination of fear and anxiety about a dental procedure in conjunction with the noises necessary for certain procedures is incredibly stressful. Anterograde amnesia is a desired outcome because it prevents the brain from constructing a memory of the procedure thereby precluding the potential for new fear to build on top of the existing fears.

4. Sedation Provides Relief from Pain

When your child is under sedation for a dental procedure, they literally will not feel any pain. Fear of pain is a major factor in both adults and children in regard to dental care avoidance and that is such a lamentable and avoidable truth. Our pediatric dentists have all completed years of extra training to provide dental care to children painlessly. If fear of pain is keeping your child from routine dental checkups and cleanings, please talk to us.

5. Sedation Dentistry Can Reduce Your Number of Office Visits

Using sedation for dental procedures can also reduce the number of visits necessary for your child. For example, some dental procedures are rather complex, and children, even teenagers can only sit still for long under their own power. When a complex procedure may need to be drawn out over a couple of days in order not to overly tax your child’s patience, instead we should discuss sedation options. Utilizing dental sedation will allow us to complete those complex procedures in one sitting, thereby eliminating the discomfort of a day or two of only a partially completed procedure. Another added benefit? It’s easier scheduling for parents as well; find one afternoon in your schedule instead of two in a row.

Sedation Dentistry is a Term that Encompasses Multiple Levels and Options

Each of our pediatric dentistry offices offers three different sedation dentistry options:

  • Oral Sedation (medicines prescribed by our pediatric dentists)

  • Nitrous Oxide (also known as laughing gas)

  • Intravenous Sedation

Oral Sedation is often (although not always) used in conjunction with nitrous oxide for an effect that allows your child to relax yet remain awake for the dental appointment. Intravenous sedation injects sedation directly to the blood stream, yet does not automatically indicate a deep sedation.

Sedation Dentistry is a Conversation for Your Pediatric Dentist

If you are interested in how utilizing some form of sedation dentistry can help your child have a better experience, please reach out. Each and everyone one of our pediatric dentists are specially trained and experienced in performing office sedation dentistry. Combined, they have completed more than 30,000 sedation procedures. Your child is in safe hands with us.

If your child suffers from anxiety or fear of the dentist, sedation dentistry could be the answer for your situation. For tips on how to address your child’s fears of the dentist, check out our recent article, ‘How We Help Kids Conquer Fear of the Dentist Office‘.

Schedule Your Kids’ Cleanings with Utah Pediatric Dentists

It’s a new year, and after the holiday crush, it’s an excellent time to get back on track with your kids’ dental care. Schedule a checkup at any of our convenient locations. Each office is staffed and equipped for dental sedation, so choose the location best for you and call us today!