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Conscious Sedation for Kids

conscious sedation for kids

Some children can get daunted when they see the dentist. As a result, they may become restless due to fright and may not relax or sit still long enough to receive treatment.
In the event of such cases, the dentist may suggest giving these children a form of medicine that can help them to relax and/or become sleepy. This medicineis called “conscious sedation.” Using conscious sedation may allow a child to become more relaxed. But the child will be able to respond to vocal communication or stimulation and will maintain his or her protective reflexes. Conscious sedation may be used when a child requires an elaborate dental treatment or has special needs. Your dentist can recommend the type of conscious sedation, whichmay be best for your child. Conscious sedation may be given in several ways, including:

  • Inhaling a gas
  • Receiving medicine through a shot (injection)
  • Receiving medicine through a vein (intravenously)

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide is also known as laughing gas. It is often used for children who are mildly or moderately anxious or nervous. It eases their fears so that they can relax. This helps them to receive treatment in a comfortable and safe manner.
Nitrous oxide is mixed with oxygen and delivered through a small mask over the nose. Your child will be asked to breathe through the nose and not through the mouth. As the gas begins to work, the child usually will become less agitated and nervous.
Sometimes young children may reject wearing the mask. In such cases, nitrous oxide may not be the right type of sedation for them. In addition, nitrous oxide can sometimes make a child feel nauseous. Before a dental visit and usage of this form of conscious sedation, it is best to feed your child only liquids or a light meal a few hours beforehand. Also, if your child is clogged up or has trouble breathing through the nose on the day of treatment, nitrous oxide may be less effective.
You may need to carry your child home after sedation. Your dentist would also discuss about how your child will be monitored during sedation. You will need to stay for a short time after dental treatment has been completed. During this time, your child will be under observance. The dental staff will make sure recovery is complete and look out for any problems.