Paediatric dental anaesthesia

Dental Treatment Under GA for Children: What Parents Should Know

For young children, going to the dentist can be an overwhelming experience. Unfortunately, being particularly fearful, active, or uncooperative can make receiving necessary dental work overly complicated and unsafe. In these cases, sedation dentistry or dental treatment under general anaesthesia can be a solution that helps the child feel relaxed and comfortable during their treatment while allowing the dentist to care for their mouth effectively. Before scheduling your child’s next paediatric appointment with the trusted team at Brisbane Kids Dentist, here’s what you should know about how sedation dentistry could benefit their oral health.

Kids dentist

What Happens During Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry uses medication to help patients feel calm and comfortable during a dental procedure. During a sedation dentistry appointment, one of three techniques will take place:

  • If happy gas is being used, your child will breathe in the gas through a plastic mask.
  • If conscious sedation is being used, the medication will be injected through an IV.
  • If general anesthesia is being used, the medication will be administered through an IV, and your child will be closely monitored at a hospital.

What is the Safest Dental Sedation?

All sedation methods come with risks. While this is true, laughing gas is considered the least invasive and safest sedation method for most patients. Before your child receives any medication at the dentist, it’s important to discuss their medical history and any potential risks with the dental team.

Is It Safe to Sedate a Child for Dental Work?

For most patients undergoing sedation to have dental work performed is perfectly safe, including children. In some circumstances, sedation can make visiting the dentist safer than if the patient was awake, especially if they are uncooperative, very active, or unusually anxious. Dental sedation is administered and monitored by trained professionals, making it very safe for most patients, including toddlers and infants.

What Drug is Used for Pediatric Dental Sedation?

At Brisbane Kids Dentist, we offer three different sedation methods for children:

  • Laughing gas: This is inhaled for mild sedation purposes. The child remains awake but will feel relaxed and possibly a bit tingly.
  • General Anesthesia: This is given through an IV to achieve unconscious, deep sedation. The child is completely unconscious, can’t feel anything, and won’t remember their procedure at all. This procedure is performed in the hospital, and specialist anaesthetists will put your child to sleep.
sedate my child for dentistry

Is Happy gas Safe for a 7-year-old?

If your child could use some help staying calm at the dentist, happy gas could be beneficial. Also known as “laughing gas,” this sedation method is commonly used on children four years and older and is incredibly safe with little to no negative side effects.

Is General Anesthesia Safe for a 7-year-old? What About a 4-year-old?

Having your child put under general anesthesia for a restorative dental treatment may seem scary, but it’s quite common. When performed by a trained professional, general anesthesia is perfectly safe for most children, including 7-year-olds and younger. No matter how old your child may be, it’s always important to discuss their medical history and the risks of anesthesia with their dentist before undergoing treatment.

How Long Does Dental Sedation Last?

The length of your child’s dental sedation will depend on what type of medications were given to them. Laughing gas can wear off as quickly as a few minutes, while conscious sedation or general anesthesia can take up to one hour to wear off. A paediatric dentist may recommend that your child refrains from normal activities, including school and sports, for the rest of the day after being sedated until their medication fully wears off.

How Do Dentists Sedate a Toddler?

Your dentist can determine if mild, moderate, or deep sedation methods should be used to sedate your toddler depending on their oral health needs and cooperation levels. Laughing gas, conscious sedation, and general anesthesia are all considered safe for most patients, including toddlers.

What are the Negative Effects of Happy gas?

While most patients experience no side effects at all from happy gas, some are possible, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Numbness in one’s limbs

These are usually short-lived and will resolve on their own quickly after the medication has been stopped.

General anaesthetic

Why Do Children Cry After Anesthesia?

It’s common for children to cry when coming out of anesthesia for a few reasons:

  • They may be confused about where they are or what’s happening
  • They may be nauseated as the anesthesia wears off
  • They may feel agitated or overwhelmed

How Do I Prepare My Child for General Anesthesia?

To ensure that your child’s experience with general anesthesia goes well, be sure to take these steps to prepare them in advance:

  • Follow the doctor’s instructions, including not eating or drinking and taking any necessary medication at the designated times.
  • Bring their favourite stuffed animal with them to the procedure.
  • Let your child know that the dentist is there to help them, and you’ll be with them every step of the way.

What are the Side Effects of General Anesthesia?

Even though general anesthesia is considered safe for kids of all ages, it does come with a risk of certain side effects. These include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Shaking
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Itching
  • Dizziness

Is It Worth Fixing Cavities in Baby Teeth?

Some people think that while cavities in primary teeth are unfortunate, they aren’t that big of a deal because they will eventually fall out anyway. Even though baby teeth will eventually fall out, it’s important to keep them healthy and treat any cavities that may develop. Tooth decay can cause some problems for children, including causing oral pain, spreading infection, and causing premature tooth loss. Baby teeth are essential to helping children get adequate nutrients from their food and hold the spot for the permanent tooth to move in properly when the time is right.

How Does a Pediatric Dentist Fill a Child's Cavity?

Having a cavity filled is the same for children and adults alike. Here’s what you can expect if your child needs to have a cavity filled:

  • First, the dentist will remove the decay from the inside of the tooth.
  • Next, he will clean the tooth to prepare it for the filling.
  • Finally, he will fill the hole where the cavity was with the filling material.

Having a cavity filled is usually a quick and painless restorative dental treatment.

Can Toddlers Get Fillings?

Even though toddlers don’t have permanent teeth, they can still have fillings placed in their baby teeth if they develop tooth decay. Even young children should have cavities filled to prevent other oral health problems from progressing and to keep their mouths as healthy as possible for when their permanent teeth emerge.

Do They Put Toddlers to Sleep for Fillings?

While sedation is not required to have a cavity filled, it can be a useful option for children who are afraid of having dental work performed, are incapable of sitting still, or have a disability that could make dental work more challenging. The best way to determine if your toddler should be asleep for a dental procedure, including having a cavity filled, is by speaking with your dentist.

What are the Signs of Cavities?

Three indicators that your child may have a cavity are:

  • Tooth sensitivity or pain
  • White or dark spots on the tooth
  • Holes, chips, or cracks on tooth

Can Toddlers Get White Fillings?

While not every dentist in Brisbane provides white fillings to children, at Brisbane Kids Dentist, we do. Composite fillings are just as safe for children as they are for adults.

Is It Common for Toddlers to Have Cavities?

Keeping your young child’s teeth clean can be a challenge. For this reason, cavities are relatively common in kids, including toddlers. Cavities are primarily caused by poor oral hygiene habits as well as consuming foods high in sugar. The best way to prevent cavities in children is to help them brush and floss their teeth every day and provide a healthy diet for them. If they develop a cavity, they should have it filled right away before it gets worse, causes pain, or causes tooth loss.

How Do You Treat Cavities in Toddlers Naturally?

Cavities will not resolve on their own, even with the best at-home steps. However, there are ways to help prevent them naturally, including:

  • Using a fluoride toothpaste
  • Consuming enough vitamin D and calcium
  • Sticking with sugar-free food, such as gum
  • Drinking water, not juice or soft drinks

Having your child sedated to receive dental treatment can be worrisome for many parents. The friendly team at Kids Dentist is here to help you and your child feel as comfortable as possible while maintaining their healthiest smile possible. We are committed to providing the best in professional dental care, using state-of-the-art materials, and always interacting with our patients in the most compassionate manner. To learn more about using sedation dentistry at your child’s next appointment, contact us on 07 3343 4869 today.

We look forward to showing you how pleasant going to the dentist with your child can be.