Calm Your Child's Dentist Chair Jitters With Oral Sedation

Dental anxiety is a common problem for children, especially if they’ve never been to the dentist, don’t know what to expect, or had a traumatic experience in the past. As a dental practice that understands and specializes in pediatric dentistry, here at Easy Dental Care in Gainesville, Virginia, Dr. Hisham Merdad often recommends oral sedation as a safe, effective way to help your child relax during dental procedures. If you have an anxious child who goes into “fight or flight” mode at the mere mention of visiting the dentist, we can calm your child’s dentist chair jitters with oral sedation.

Oral sedation means your little one is calm and awake during dental visits

Oral sedation is a safe way of keeping your child calm during extensive dental procedures or simply when they have an extreme fear of visiting the dentist. Keeping your child calm not only helps them stay safe during a dental procedure, but also allows Dr. Merdad to complete necessary dental work without interference or interruption. Oral sedation can help in ensuring that your child receives the treatment needed to sustain their best oral health. 

During an appointment for a filling, or another type of restorative dental work, oral sedation allows your child to be deeply relaxed, but still awake. That means they can respond to requests by the dental team and they’re aware of their surroundings. They just feel much calmer about the entire experience, with all negative emotions and fears set aside. 

Types of oral sedation for children

As a parent, naturally you’re concerned about what type of sedatives your children receive at their dental visit. 

Nitrous oxide (laughing gas)

One of the most popular mild sedatives is nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas. If your child requires a mild form of sedation to take the edge off their nerves, nitrous oxide is a good option. 

They simply inhale the laughing gas mixed with oxygen and become more relaxed. They may also feel lightheaded, euphoric, or silly. After their dental treatment, Dr. Merdad gives them pure oxygen to inhale to clear out any remaining laughing gas. 

One advantage of nitrous oxide is that immediately following your child’s dental visit, they feel like themselves again and can return to their usual activities without any lingering side effects. 

Oral medications

If your child needs a bit more of a moderate level of sedation, oral medications can help them relax more deeply, yet still able to respond to requests from the dental team. Depending on your child’s needs, Dr. Merdad may recommend oral sedation medications that include benzodiazepines. These medications, like Ativan® and Xanax®, alleviate your child’s anxieties about their dental experience. 

These medications are fast-acting and typically wear off within a couple of hours, or shortly after the dental procedure. Your child will most likely feel drowsy and lethargic for a few hours, depending on which type of oral medication Dr. Merdad administers. Expect to spend the rest of the day letting your child rest or watch TV as they recuperate from their dental work and any effects of the sedation. 

Some oral medications may make your child feel nauseous as the effects wear off. If you’re concerned about preventing nausea, Dr. Merdad may recommend hydroxyzine, an antihistamine that provides rapid sedation effects that last about 3-4 hours. This medication also helps minimize any feelings of nausea. 

How safe is oral sedation?

When administered by a highly trained and qualified dental team, like Dr. Merdad and his staff, oral sedation is safe and effective for your child during dental treatments. Of course, you should follow any instructions before your child’s dental visit, such as not allowing them to eat or drink anything for the amount of time Dr. Merdad instructs. 

When you follow the recommended preparation and aftercare, and clearly communicate your concerns to Dr. Merdad and the Easy Dental Care team, your child can have a relaxing, pleasant experience. Perhaps next time, they’ll also have less fear and anxiety about going to the dentist. 

To find out if oral sedation is right for you, contact our friendly, knowledgeable staff by phone, or schedule a consultation through our online booking system.

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