Children differ physically and emotionally from adults hence their treatment needs to be tailored to their age, temperament, personality, cooperation levels, gag reflex, sensitivity to tastes, extent of treatment need and the type of treatment option required for durability.
About inhalation sedation
Inhalation sedation is the safest sedation method available for the management of anxiety in children. It uses a sweet smelling gas called nitrous oxide mixed with oxygen. You might be familiar with a slightly stronger version of this drug called Entonox™, which is sometimes given to mum’s on the labour ward. It is administered via a mask worn on the nose. The effects only last while the child is breathing it in. It works best for children who are anxious but able to communicate and willing to try to have their treatment done on the chair. Children remain awake and can talk during the procedure. In suitable children it helps them to relax and feel calm. The drug has an amnesic quality, so helps fade the memory of the procedure and it also reduces sensitivity to pain.
There are some children who are not suitable for this type of sedation and these include:
- Mouth breathers
- Very young children
- Children who find communication hard
- Children with large tonsils and adenoids
- Children who need a lot of visits for treatment
- Children who refuse treatment
Going to sleep for dental treatment
Paediatric Dentists help parents and their children find the best way to have dental treatment done in a manner the child finds acceptable. We aim to make children happy about coming to the dentist. We want them to grow into adults who feel good about dental visits. Although lots of children have treatment on the chair, some children find the process of sitting and keeping their mouth open overwhelming and this is when “going to sleep” for treatment is considered. It means going to the Beacon Hospital, Sandyford for a day and being put under a general anaesthetic by a Consultant Anaesthetist. All necessary treatment is done by Dr Daly when the child is asleep. It is a safe and effective way of delivering high quality dental care to young or anxious children.
General anaesthetic is not something we resort to lightly and we help parents to carefully balance the following factors in deciding if it is appropriate for their child:
- The child’s likelihood of coping with the proposed treatment
- The presence of infection and pain
- Responses to similar procedures
- Complexity of treatment needed
- The child’s general health