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!

Back to Blogs

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.

Back to Blogs

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!

Back to Blogs