If you take your toddler to the dentist and find out that he or she has a few cavities, you might panic, wondering how this dentist is going to fix the problems. Toddlers cannot sit still for long, in most cases, yet fixing cavities will require the child to sit completely still. In cases like this, pediatric dentists often recommend sedation procedures, and here are a few things to know about these.
Minor procedures may only require nitrous oxide
Nitrous oxide is a gas people call "laughing gas" as it tends to make a lot of people laugh. Dentists use this for both children and adults, and it tends to make a huge difference with someone who cannot sit still or with a person who has dental fears and phobias. To use this, a dentist simply places a device over a child's nose and tells the child to breathe through his or her nose. As the child breathes this in, it tends to block pain and nerve signals and causes the child to feel more relaxed and comfortable. This may be the only form of sedation the dentist uses, or he or she may combine this with another form of sedation.
Toddlers often benefit from oral sedatives
The second type of sedation used commonly for toddlers is oral sedation, which is accomplished through a medication the child takes just before the appointment or when arriving. An oral sedative is a liquid medication the child must take, and it tends to make a child feel very comfortable, drowsy, and relaxed. It will not cause the child to fully full asleep, but he or she will be close. Oral sedatives are completely safe for most kids, and they offer a sufficient amount of sedation for dental procedures.
Extreme cases may require IV sedation
There are also times when dentists recommend IV sedation. This is the most extreme form of sedation and requires the child to be hooked to an IV. The IV slowly transfers medication into the child's bloodstream, and this causes the child to fall asleep or fall into a deep state of relaxation. Many pediatric dentists are not qualified to offer IV sedation, but some are.
If your child needs any type of dental work, it is likely that the dentist will suggest using some form of sedation. If you have any questions about this, you can schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentistry clinic.