My daughter’s teeth are in a bit of a mess. She’s seven years old but terrified of the dental chair. I honestly don’t know what to do. She’ll do okay for part of it and then just flip out completely. She’ll bound from the chair and hide. I’ve got to get her oral health under control. My dentist doesn’t know what to do. Any recommendations?
Going to the dentist can be scary for even grownups, so don’t feel too bad about your little girl. Often those fears develop after a traumatic experience with a dental procedure, though some people are just more prone to anxiety than others, especially when there are sharp pointy objects coming toward us.
This isn’t going to be the best dentist for your daughter. I’m going to recommend the new one you look for be either a pediatric dentist or a general dentist who is good with children, that offers some type of dental sedation.
Before we get into the sedation, let’s talk about how you know if a general dentist is good working with children. One quick give away is when they are willing to first see children. If they suggest coming in when their first teeth erupt in their toddler years, you can be fairly sure they are experienced and comfortable with children. If they want you to wait until they are seven or eight, they are willing to work with tiny adults, but not children.
What Type of Sedation is Good for Children
When a dentist is trained in sedation, all types are safe. Even with that; however, I tend to recommend using the lightest form of dental sedation necessary. Not because it is safer, but it is much less maintenance for the parent after the procedure is done.
For most children, nitrous oxide is all they need. This used to be nicknamed laughing gas. It won’t make her giggly, but will give her a relaxed, floaty feeling. Most children fall asleep with it. It’s administered through a nosepiece that just fits over her nose and she breathes normally. It is very non-threatening. Once the procedure is completed, your dentist will switch the gas from nitrous to pure oxygen and she’ll be back to normal in just a few minutes and ready to go on with her day as normal.
For some, their anxiety is so high that nitrous isn’t enough. In this case, she’d need oral conscious sedation. This is administered by pill or liquid depending on how old the patient is. Once in her system, she will be very woozy and sleep. In fact, some people call it sleep dentistry. She’ll need someone to keep an eye on her for several hours after the procedure. Until she is lucid again, she’ll be unsteady on her feet and you don’t want to risk a fall.
This blog is brought to you by Portage, MI Dentist Dr. Susan Dennis.