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Sedation Dentistry: Is It Also Safe For Children In Toronto?

A trip to the dentist can often instill fear and anxiety, especially in children. It’s this fear that may prevent them from getting the necessary dental care that their developing teeth need. Fortunately, sedation dentistry offers a solution to this predicament, providing a safe and anxiety-free dental experience. However, many parents are left wondering, “Is sedation dentistry safe for children in Toronto?” Let’s explore the answer in this article.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry involves the use of medication to create a relaxed, easy and calm state for patients during dental procedures. It can range from minimal sedation, where patients are relaxed yet fully awake, to full sedation resulting in almost complete unconsciousness.

There are several types of dental sedation, including inhaled minimal sedation (nitrous oxide or “laughing gas”), oral sedation (pills or liquid), IV moderate sedation (administered through veins), and deep sedation or general anesthesia. The level of sedation used typically depends on the procedure and the patient’s anxiety level.

Is Sedation Dentistry Safe for Children?

This question is of paramount concern for parents considering sedation dentistry for their children. The good news is, sedation dentistry is generally safe for children. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry approves sedation as an effective way to make children comfortable during dental treatment.

However, it’s crucial to note that sedation is a significant medical procedure and, as with any medical procedure, comes with risks. The likelihood of risk can be minimized when the sedation is administered by properly trained and competent professionals. In Toronto, dentists who practice sedation dentistry undergo extensive training and are required to follow strict protocols to ensure patient safety.

When is Sedation Recommended for Children?

Sedation is typically recommended for children who are unable to cooperate due to a high level of fear and anxiety, very young age, or special needs. It can also be helpful for children undergoing extensive dental procedures, those with a highly sensitive gag reflex, or children who have had traumatic dental experiences in the past.

Sedation dentistry can be a game-changer for children who fear dental appointments. It allows them to stay calm and relaxed throughout the procedure, ensuring they receive necessary dental care. Unfortunately, there are several misconceptions surrounding sedation dentistry that can make parents hesitant about this option. This article aims to clarify the types of sedation used in dentistry for kids and debunk common myths surrounding it.

Types of Sedation Used in Dentistry for Kids

1. Nitrous Oxide

Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a mild sedative that helps children stay calm during dental procedures. The gas is mixed with oxygen and delivered through a mask. It takes effect quickly, helping to alleviate anxiety and reduce discomfort.

2. Oral Sedation:

This method involves administering sedative drugs orally or through the nose. The level of sedation can range from minimal to moderate, depending on the total dose given. Under oral sedation, children stay awake but may feel drowsy.

3. IV Sedation

IV sedation involves delivering sedative drugs directly into a vein, allowing them to work more quickly. This method allows the dentist to adjust the level of sedation continuously.

4. General Anesthesia

In cases of severe anxiety or for more intensive procedures, children may be put under general anesthesia. This is also recommended for children who are unable to cooperate or have special needs. Under general anesthesia, children are completely unconscious.

The choice of sedation depends on factors like the child’s age, weight, level of anxiety, the duration of the procedure, and the child’s overall health.

Debunking Myths Around Sedation Dentistry

Myth 1: Sedation is Only for Major Surgeries

Fact: Sedation dentistry can be beneficial for a variety of dental procedures, not just major surgeries. It can be used for simple procedures like teeth cleaning or filling cavities, especially for children who are highly anxious or unable to sit still.

Myth 2: Sedation is Always General Anesthesia

Fact: Sedation dentistry encompasses a range of sedation levels—minimal, moderate, deep, and general anesthesia. It’s not always about making the child unconscious. In many cases, it’s about making them comfortable and relaxed while staying awake.

Myth 3: Sedation is Unsafe for Kids

Fact: When administered by trained and experienced professionals who follow the sedation guidelines for pediatric patients, sedation dentistry is generally safe and effective. The child’s vital signs are closely monitored throughout the procedure to ensure safety. 

Myth 4: Any Dentist Can Perform Sedation

Fact: Not all dentists are qualified to perform all levels of sedation. Minimal sedation can be administered by most dentists. However, moderate sedation, deep sedation, and general anesthesia should only be administered by dentists with specialized training and qualifications, or in collaboration with an anesthesiologist.

When considering sedation dentistry for your child, it’s important to have a detailed discussion with the dental professional about the available options, the benefits, and the risks. This will allow parents to make an informed decision and ensure their child has the most comfortable and positive dental experience possible.

Steps to Ensure Safety

Before opting for sedation, the dentist will review the child’s medical history and consider factors like the child’s age, weight, allergies, current medications, and tolerance to medications. This information helps determine the type and dose of sedation to be used.

Pre-operative fasting is also important, usually needing nothing to eat or drink up to several hours before the procedure. After sedation, the child’s vital signs – heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and temperature, are closely monitored by a trained professional to ensure a safe experience.

Choosing a Sedation Dentist in Toronto

When selecting a dentist for sedating your child, make sure they have the necessary qualifications and experience. The dentist should be willing to discuss the sedation process, risks, benefits, and post-operative instructions with you.

Many dental offices in Toronto offer sedation dentistry for children, but do your due diligence. Research, read reviews, and ask for recommendations. Don’t hesitate to ask questions—any dentist who’s worth their salt will welcome them and be patient in providing answers.

The takeaway

Sedation dentistry can be a viable option for children who dread dental appointments, allowing them to receive necessary dental care in a stress-free manner. When executed by a skilled and knowledgeable dental team in Toronto, sedation dentistry can safely suppress a child’s anxiety, creating a positive dental experience. 

Parents need to discuss with their child’s dentist to fully understand the benefits and risks of tooth dental care in Toronto. By making informed decisions, we can ensure that our children’s dental visits are not just tolerable, but also positive, laying the groundwork for a lifetime of healthy dental habits.


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About DentistryEd

Sharky Liu is the founder and CEO of DentistFind, a results-driven dental marketing platform and marketing service that applies an analytical and data-based approach to increase new patient acquisition for dental practices. 

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