Patients are often referred for sedation dentistry when decay is seen on the front four teeth. While these cavities must be treated, there are alternatives to sedation that should be explored prior to putting your child to sleep.
Listed below are some treatment options to help guide parents in making the correct decision regarding their child’s care.
Do nothing. Children begin to lose the front teeth between the ages of 5 and 6 years of age. If a child has no other decay and is nearing the age where the permanent front teeth are erupting, sedation may be unnecessary and allowing the teeth to exfoliate on their own may be prudent.
Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF). SDF is a non-invasive treatment that can be applied topically to teeth with mild to moderate decay. SDF can slow the progression of cavities and completely eliminate the need for sedation or delay sedation until the child is older or all of the child’s primary dentition has erupted.
Laughing gas. If a child has no other decay and the front four teeth need to be extracted due to infection, laughing gas may be an effective alternative to IV sedation. While the effects of laughing gas are far less extreme, it can help to relax the patient and facilitate the procedure.
Sedation. If a pediatric dental practitioner deems that the alternatives to sedations are not possible then it is important to choose the correct providers for the procedure. A trained anesthesiologist should be present and a pediatric dentist well versed in sedation dentistry should be selected. Additionally, finding an office that treats patients regularly under IV sedation is beneficial, as the office staff and dental assistants can be an important asset to the success and outcome of the procedure.
Choosing anesthesia for your child’s dental care is a big decision. At the Tooth Pillow Dentistry we are here to help you explore all of the options available to your child. Do not hesitate to call with questions regarding your child’s care.
-Dr's Abra DiLisio, Raquel Rozdolski, Esther Levine-Pincus, Jessica Levy