Does My Child Need Dental Treatment Under Sedation?

Treating dental disease, pain and infections in children is crucial at every stage of their development. Sometimes, this may require the use of general anesthesia or sedation to get the necessary treatment done. There are several reasons that sedation may be necessary.  Some of these include:

  • To ease fear, anxiety, and phobia of dental procedures

  • To enable a child with ADHD, Autism, Developmental Delay, or other physical or mental challenges to handle treatment

  • The presence of extensive dental disease that would require multiple and potentially traumatic visits if fully awake

  • The need for complete immobility during more complex procedures


Types of Sedation in Dentistry: 

Dentistry sedation aims to help patients feel more relaxed and comfortable during their dental procedures. It is beneficial for anxious kids, as it can ease their nerves and help them feel more at ease. Dentists have several options for sedation that can be administered, such as:


Inhalation Sedation

Inhalation sedation, also known as nitrous oxide or laughing gas, is a colorless and odorless gas. The patient inhales the gas through a mask and this “takes the edge off” for an anxious patient. The dentist will give the child a combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen to help calm and reduce their anxiety levels. Once the procedure is complete, the dentist will give the child pure oxygen to eliminate any remaining nitrous oxide.


Oral Sedation 

This form of mild sedation involves liquid medication provided by the dentist. The child takes the medication before the procedure which helps the child feel more relaxed.


IV Sedation

Intravenous sedation is moderate sedation that requires a special permit to be performed by a dentist.  Dentists administer this form of sedation by inserting a needle into a vein, usually behind the hand. The child will be mildly responsive and may not remember the procedure.


General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is performed by a separate Anesthesia Provider such as an anesthesiologist or a nurse anesthetist whose sole responsibility is the safety of the child being treated.  It is a closely monitored and controlled deep sedation in which the child is completely asleep.  This is the only option available at Hapy Bear Surgery Center.



How Safe Is Dental Treatment Under Sedation for Children?

Dental treatment for children under sedation is generally safe when carried out by trained, licensed, and experienced providers.  Depending on your child's age, medical history, procedures necessary, and their unique situation, the type and level of sedation recommended will vary. 

It is best to remember that the safety of sedation can differ depending on the specific drug or technique employed. It will also depend on your child's unique response to sedation. Before any procedure, parents should always go over any worries they have with their child's dentist and anesthesia provider to ensure they are comfortable with the process.


Does My Child Need Sedation?

Choosing to sedate a child for dental treatment depends on several factors as mentioned at the beginning of this article. These include the child's age, medical history, anxiety or fear level, and the nature of the required procedures.

Sedation may be necessary where a child's medical condition or disability makes it difficult or impossible to remain still or cooperate during a dental procedure. Sedation may benefit children who experience severe anxiety or fear during dental procedures.

Sedation is not always necessary for pediatric dental procedures. It is best to review the alternatives with your dentist and consider the child's particular situation and requirements. Methods like distraction, positive reinforcement, or nitrous oxide might work well for many children.  We expect that these methods have been evaluated and tried before the child is referred to Hapy Bear Surgery Center for treatment.



Dental treatment under sedation for kids is safe when performed by trained, qualified and experienced healthcare providers. That said, making sure you are comfortable with the need for sedation, the providers doing the sedation, and the facility where it will be performed, is essential.   

At Hapy Bear Surgery Center our top priority is always to ensure that the treatment is as safe and comfortable as possible for your child.

For more information on the general anesthesia sedation service we provide for children, visit Hapy Bear Surgery Center at our office in Tulare, California. Call (559) 732-4279 to request an appointment today.

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