Dental Anesthesia For A Pain-Free Visit

Regular dental care is essential for kids to have a healthy smile, but any parent can tell you it’s often an uphill battle to get them into the dentist’s chair. At Sprout Kids Dentistry, we understand that struggle and take specific steps to make your child’s dentist experience in Boston easier, painless, and even fun! For the squirmiest kids or the more intensive procedures, this may mean using anesthetics to minimize pain and settle nerves. Anesthesia is a safe and regularly used as part of pediatric dentistry. Being informed about what and when we might use anesthetics can take the anxiety away from your next sedation dental visit.

Anesthesia is a safe and regularly used part of pediatric dentistry, and being informed of what and when we might use anesthetics can take the anxiety away from your next sedation dental visit.

Anesthesia Overview

Not all anesthetics are what you may expect. They exist on a spectrum from low- to high-intensity. There are benefits and drawbacks to each type, and Dr. Anderson will consider both the procedure being performed as well as your child’s needs and comfort when making a decision about which anesthetic, if any, to use.

The types of anesthesia used in dentistry can be used in tandem to customize the level of sedation using both local anesthetics and conscious sedation methods, ensuring your child will be as comfortable as possible.

Local Anesthesia

The most common anesthetic used during dental procedures is Novocaine. This temporary nerve-numbing medication is injected directly into the area receiving treatment. Novocaine works on the actual nerve signals (which transmit the feeling of pain), meaning it’s a dental anesthetic that can eliminate pain

Other types of anesthesia affect the overall experience, reducing anxiety and helping children feel more comfortable in Dr. Anderson’s chair.

Nitrous Oxide

The mildest form of what’s called conscious sedation is nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas. Nitrous oxide is used to take the edge off, rather than completely sedating a child. It’s administered by breathing the gas in through a facial mask.

In some cases, children can self-regulate the amount they take in, and therefore their level of comfort, by alternating breathing through their mouth and nose—inhaling either room air or nitrous oxide depending on where the mask is placed.

Oral Pre-medication

The next step up from nitrous oxide is an oral sedative in the form of a syrup which is taken about half an hour before an appointment. Stronger than nitrous oxide, the effects do not wear off as easily, meaning children will need constant supervision for several hours after the medication is taken.

Intravenous Solution

Finally, for the most effective sedation, we use general anesthesia to completely put your child to sleep for full mouth dental rehabilitation. This allows Dr. Anderson to work on the most delicate procedures while your child rests comfortably and safely. The effects of general anesthesia sedation take a while to wear off, which means you will be in charge of making sure your child rests comfortably back at home after the procedure has ended.

Comfortable Care for Your Little One

Whatever method Dr. Anderson and her expert team of dental hygienists choose for your child’s dental procedure, we always make our kids’ comfort and care a top priority. For all your pediatric dentistry needs in Boston, Sprout Kids Dentistry is here to serve you. Call us at 617-934-6339 or schedule an appointment online today to experience our kid-centered approach for yourself!

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Is Your Child Really Receiving Sleep Dentistry?

It is very common in the dental industry to see misleading claims about the types of sedation offices provide. Many dentists claim to offer “sleep dentistry,” when in reality, what they are actually providing is nothing more than conscious sedation. Often, conscious sedation can make someone so relaxed that they fall asleep, but unlike a patient receiving sleep dentistry, they can easily be woken up with a nudge.

Sedation is used in pediatric dentistry for children who are receiving long procedures or who have a high fear of dental care. It is also used for children who have trouble sitting still, such as very young children or those with special needs. At Sprout Kids Dentistry, we want you to be equipped to make informed decisions about your child’s dental care. Therefore, we think it is important that you are able to distinguish between the different types of sedation used in pediatric dentistry.

Conscious Sedation

A child receiving conscious sedation will remain awake and at least somewhat aware of their surroundings. There are two different types of conscious sedation:

Inhaled Sedation

Inhaled sedation is the lowest level of sedation and is very safe and mild. It simply relaxes the child enough to sit comfortably through their dental work and gives them a “happy” feeling. The child inhales nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, through a mask over their nose. The child retains complete awareness the whole time, and the effects of the nitrous oxide wear off about five minutes after the mask is removed. This type of sedation is best for children over four years old.

Oral Sedation

Oral Sedation is taken in a prescribed dosage through either the mouth or the nose. Oral sedation keeps a child relaxed and calm and can also make them a little drowsy. Like inhaled sedation, the child will usually remain awake and somewhat to fully aware during the procedure, but it is not uncommon for the child to fall asleep. Children should be at least three years old to receive this type of sedation.

Sleep Dentistry

Sleep Dentistry, as its name implies, puts the child to sleep completely. There are two types of sleep dentistry:

IV Sedation

IV sedation takes only a few seconds to put a child to sleep. This method is ideal for those with extreme dental anxiety or behavior issues or for very young children. It is also useful for children who are receiving a large amount of invasive dental work, as it allows them to lie completely still for a long period of time. This sedative is administered through a needle, usually in the arm, hand, or foot.  It is usually recommended that a child be at least two years old to receive this type of sedation.

General Anesthesia

General Anesthesia is the highest level of sedation and is only used when absolutely necessary. A trained anesthesiologist will administer the anesthesia medication and monitor the child while the dentist performs the procedure. The child is completely unconscious while under general anesthesia. This type of sedation is used for children who need to be put completely to sleep but are otherwise not ideal candidates for IV sedation. Sometimes we may recommend that, if the procedure needing general anesthesia is not critical or time-sensitive, it be put off until the child is physically ready.

Sedation Options at Sprout Kids Dentistry

Sprout Kids Dentistry provides pediatric dentistry in Boston. We offer all four of these types of sedation in order to accommodate all children and their varying needs. We would love to talk to you to discuss which sedation options would be best for your child. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Anderson today by calling 617-934-6339 or filling out our online form.

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The Importance of Pediatric Dentistry for Special Needs Children

As a child grows, there is an important need for proper dental care. When it comes to special needs children, there are common problems that require even more attention. While some special needs kids find it very stressful to go to the dentist’s office, it’s important that you make this part of your yearly healthcare routine.

Oral Health Challenges for Children with Special Needs

Children with special needs often have sensitivity in various areas of their mouth. As your child grows, there are changes within the mouth that can cause problems with eating, speaking, etc. Having a trusted pediatric dentist who understands these challenges is very important. If your child has difficulty opening their mouth, holding their mouth open, or getting over their anxieties, there are ways to promote a good oral health routine. You still need to make sure that your child is avoiding bad habits that could lead to dental disease. A knowledgeable dentist can talk to you about a diet that reduces refined sugar as a way to prevent cavities.

Helping Special Needs Children Acclimate to the Dentist

There are both children and adults that have anxiety about going to the dentist. Even a regular checkup can bring on some unpleasant emotions. Working with a pediatric dentist that your child feels comfortable with can help establish the routine that your family needs. There are some ways that you can make a trip to the dentist more enjoyable for your special needs child. The first appointment can sometimes be used for nothing more than acclimating your child to the office. Getting them used to the location and what goes on is helpful. It’s nice when your child walks into an office like ours, where there are books, toys, and plenty of welcoming staff members. When you’re confident that your child is ready, making an appointment to have your child’s teeth looked at would be the next step.

Sedation Dentistry is an Option

There are special needs children that just can’t get over their fear of the dentist. There’s nothing wrong with this. There are adults that are the same way. Sleep dentistry is a very safe option for getting your child the dental care that they need. The sedation is done very safely in a hospital setting with coordinated help from your pediatrician and hospital staff. Children with high levels of anxiety or sensory issues will benefit greatly from this option. It’s easy to simply skip a visit that brings on anxiety, but there are many health conditions that can be spotted by a dental professional that specializes in kids dentistry. In many cases, a dentist can notice a health issue before a primary physician would be able to.

Schedule a consultation

If your special needs child is in need of a Pediatric Dentistry in Boston appointment, give Sprout Kids Dentistry a call 617-328-1700. We have a very helpful and welcoming staff that can make any dental appointment a breeze for your special needs child. We can’t wait to see you!

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Sleep Dentistry for Your Kids

For many reasons, going to the dentist has always been an activity that kids fear. It can be due to loud noises, the tools in their mouth, or even just the new experience and unknown factors. Regardless of what the fear is, sedation dentistry is one way to make sure your kids get the dental care they need without the nerves and fear that can cause them to avoid the dentist in the future.

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry uses special medication to cause patients to relax during their dental procedures. You may also hear sedation dentistry referred to casually as “sleep dentistry“. This can give many people the wrong assumption of how this process works. In fact, you’ll still be awake during dental procedures, but are simply very relaxed.

What Types of Sedation Are Used in Dentistry?

Dentists can offer an array of sedation techniques. Each works well for specific types of patients. Understanding what these types of sedation are can help you to get a better grasp of what this type of dentistry is like.

  • Oral Sedation – This type of sedation can range from minimal to moderate. In minimal cases, patients can take an oral elixir called Midazolam or Chloral Hydrate which induces a state of relaxation. On the moderate end, patients can be given a larger dosage, or the agents mentioned above can be combined with other medications such as hydroxyzine, meperidine, or nitrous oxide where they’re groggy during the procedure. However, the patient can be awakened with a gentle shake as they’re not fully unconscious during the procedure.
  • Inhaled Minimal Sedation – This type of sedation works by the patient breathing in nitrous oxide. This is what most people call “laughing gas“. The whole point of this gas is that it allows the body to go into a relaxed state for a short period of time.
  • IV Moderate Sedation -The hint is in its name; this type of sedation is given through an IV. This allows its effects to be almost instantaneous.
  • Deep Sedation / General Anesthesia – This type of sedation works by the patient being given medications that will make them unconscious during the procedure and is usually reserved for invasive surgeries.

Who Can Have Sedation?

Sedation is extremely helpful for those who have a real fear of the dentist. It also benefits individuals who have low pain thresholds, can’t sit still, have bad gag reflexes, or need a large amount of dental work performed. Sedation dentistry is highly recommended for children who have extreme fear when it comes to the dentist’s office.

How Safe Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation is used as a normal aid in dental procedures throughout the country. Most dentists will administer nitrous oxide or pills to children as they’re the easiest form of sedation. Most dentists are authorized to administer this minimal sedation. Those patients who require moderate sedation will need to go to a specialized dental professional who has been certified by the Commission On Dental Accreditation Program (CODA) or The American Board of Anesthesiology. Dr. Anderson works jointly with, Dr. Patrick McCarty, a board certified anesthesiologist to provide Deep sedation/ General Anesthesia services in-office for some of her pediatric patients. If you’re concerned about sedation dentistry for your child, your dentist can recommend your best options.

Schedule a Consultation

Kids dentistry is a vital part of any healthy child’s life. While many dental professionals will take on patients of all ages, Sprout Kids Dentistry works exclusively with children to establish good dental habits and care. This makes our office for pediatric dentistry in Boston the perfect location for your child to learn to love going to the dentist. To get started, we invite you to schedule an appointment by calling or filling out our online form.

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What Is a Mouthguard and How Does It Prevent Teeth Grinding?

Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, affects millions of people every year. In some cases, teeth grinding can cause people to experience headaches and soreness in the jaw or face. Teeth grinding can also cause a person’s teeth to break or destroy the enamel on their teeth. In severe cases, bruxism can even cause tooth loss. The good news is that mouthguards worn at night can help treat bruxism and protect your teeth.

What Is a Mouthguard and How Does It Work?

A mouthguard is an oral device that you wear over your teeth while you sleep at night. This guard protects your teeth by working as a barrier between your upper and lower teeth. As your jaw clenches at night, the mouthguard will force this tightening to loosen up to prevent grinding. This device helps to protect your teeth by preventing the teeth to grind together during the night and it can reduce facial and jaw pain by stopping your jaw from clenching while you sleep.

Types of Mouthguards

You don’t need a prescription to purchase a mouthguard. They are available over the counter or you can request one from your dentist. According to the American Sleep Association, there are three main types of mouthguards.

1. Soft Mouthguard

As the name suggests, soft mouthguards are soft and flexible. Many people find this the most comfortable mouthguard to use. However, it’s not always effective for severe cases of teeth grinding. In addition, this type of mouthguard is not as durable as some other options, so you may need to purchase a new one every few months.

2. Hard Mouthguard

A hard mouthguard is made from acrylic and it’s not flexible. This type of mouthguard must be ordered from the dentist and is made using an impression of your teeth. This style of nightguard is ideal for those who suffer from severe teeth grinding. While it can take some time to get used to wearing a hard mouthguard, it is very durable and will last longer than other types.

3. Dual Laminate Mouthguard

The dual laminate mouthguard is a mixture between the hard and soft style. It has a hard exterior and a soft interior. This type of nightguard is ideal for those who suffer from moderate teeth grinding.

 Ordering Your Mouthguard

There are several ways mouthguards adjust to your teeth.

Non-Molded Mouthguard

  • Non-Molded Mouthguard – You can purchase this type of mouthguard over the counter and use it instantly without any molding or preparation.

Boil and Bite Mouthguard

  • Boil and Bite Mouthguard – This mouthguard can be purchased at the store, but you will need to boil it and then place it in your mouth and bite down to make an impression before using it.

Customized Mouthguard

  • Customized Mouthguard – You can order a customized mouthguard online, but you will be required to send the company an impression of your teeth so they can make you a customized nightguard.

Laboratory-Made Mouthguard

  • Laboratory-Made Mouthguard – When you order a mouthguard through your dentist, he will start by taking an impression of your teeth and then sending it to the laboratory to be made.

Using a mouthguard can significantly reduce the effects of teeth grinding and protect your teeth from damage. It’s important to only use your mouthguard at nighttime and to place it in your mouth just before you are ready to go to sleep. Keep in mind that it could take up to four to six weeks to get used to using a mouthguard.

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