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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Dr. Michelle Anderson is a pediatric dentist board certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.