Dental Anxiety is something that your child may have which not only affects the child’s willingness for treatment, it can also present challenges for the dental clinician in terms of being able to provide the most optimal dental care. Strategies such as relaxation and providing a distraction for the child in the lead up to treatment may assist in relieving anxiety. As always, communication with the dentist regarding any potential issues will assist in providing the best care possible.
We are proud to offer various 'no needle' options, depending on the child's requirements. For more advanced cases, we can provide options such as Intravenous (IV) Sedation or General Anaesthesia which can be discussed.
Afraid of Needles? Nitrous Oxide is a safe and effective sedative agent which is mixed with oxygen and is inhaled by the patient through a small mask, which helps them to relax. It is an effective measure used for anxious and/or uncooperative children, where the patient will still be conscious and responsive and will be able to communicate with the dentist during treatment.
Intravenous (IV) Sedation
This technique uses medications for your child’s safety and comfort during dental treatment. Sedation can help increase cooperation and reduce anxiety and/or discomfort associated with dental procedures. In particular, it can prevent injury by helping a child stay still around the sharp or fast-moving instruments needed for treatment.
For this technique, the anaesthetist selects a medication and dose based upon your child’s overall health, level of anxiety and dental treatment recommendations. It is not intended to cause a loss of consciousness. (In other words, the child is relaxed but not asleep. They are able to respond to touch or voices.)
This approach may be recommended for apprehensive children, very young children and children with special health care needs who would not be able to receive necessary dental care in a safe and comfortable manner without it.
Sedation is safe for children when administered by an anaesthetist in line relevant professional guidelines. Parents should feel free to discuss with their dentist the different medications and sedation options, as well as the special monitoring equipment used for patient protection.
General Anaesthesia (GA)
Medically speaking, general anaesthesia is an induced state of unconsciousness. In practical terms, the patient is asleep and unable to respond to touch or voices. It is most often recommended for children with extensive dental needs who cannot tolerate the treatment required to restore their oral health. For example, if a toddler was suffering from severe early childhood caries and required multiple root canals and crowns, the parents might agree that general anaesthesia was the most comfortable and safest way to complete treatment. Or, it may be the treatment of choice for a child with a mental or physical disability for whom a hospital setting provides the safest and best approach to care.
All parents should know that children face the same risk under general anaesthesia for dental treatment as for any other surgical procedure. The treatment should be provided only by highly qualified health professionals, including dentists with advanced education in anaesthesiology, dental or medical anaesthesiologists, oral surgeons, and certified registered nurse anaesthetists. Whether the treatment is provided in a dental office or a hospital, it should feature special monitoring and emergency equipment and trained support personnel. Parents should talk openly with their dentist about the benefits and risks of this treatment.