At McKinney Pediatric Dentistry, we know that getting your child to behave at the dentist is not always easy. Kids don’t want to sit still while someone pokes in their mouth, and some children can even develop dental anxiety.
At McKinney Pediatric Dentistry, you don’t have to stress about how your child handles the dentist. We offer a variety of options to help your child relax at the dentist. With the right techniques and tools, a visit to the dentist doesn’t have to be stressful for you or scary for your child.
If your child is afraid of the dentist, one of the first things we’ll try is behavior management. This involves a variety of techniques designed to understand why your child is experiencing fear or anxiety and to help reduce those negative feelings.
At your appointment, we’ll ask you about your child’s previous dental experiences. This will help us figure out what is causing your child’s dental anxiety. There may not be anything specific, however, and that’s okay, too. It’s normal for kids to find the dentist unpleasant, but with our caring team at McKinney Pediatric Dentistry, we’ll help your child learn that the dentist isn’t so scary after all.
One technique we might use is desensitization. By showing your child the tools we will use, explaining how things will feel, and moving slowly during the appointment, we can help your child get used to the tools and sensations of the dentist. We can take breaks when needed during the appointment, as well.
Nitrous Oxide and Oral Conscious Sedation
If behavior management isn’t working for your child, or if they have an urgent dental problem that requires that we move forward with treatment before they’re ready, we also offer sedation options at McKinney Pediatric Dentistry. Two common options are nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oral conscious sedation.
Nitrous oxide is the technical term for laughing gas. Nitrous oxide helps reduce anxiety and pain, and it often causes patients to get the giggles, which is where its common name came from.
Nitrous oxide is administered as a gas mixed with regular oxygen. A tube is placed over your child’s nose, and as they breathe through their nose, the gas will start to take effect, making them relaxed.
The benefit of nitrous oxide is that it takes very little time to wear off. Once the procedure is over, the tube will be removed. As your child starts to breathe only oxygen again, the effects of the nitrous oxide will quickly subside.
Oral Conscious Sedation
The other common option is oral conscious sedation. “Conscious” means that as opposed to general anesthesia, in which a patient would be completely under, your child will still be awake. And “oral” simply means that this type of sedation comes in the form of a pill taken by mouth.
Oral conscious sedation requires a prescription to be written ahead of time. You’ll need to pick up the prescription and give the pill to your child before their appointment. These medications take a while to wear off, so you should expect your child to be sleepy for most of the day after their appointment.
In extreme cases of dental anxiety, general anesthesia might be necessary. This is rare, but it can be helpful as a last resort, especially for longer or more painful procedures. General anesthesia is done under supervision at a local children’s hospital.
General anesthesia means that your child will be completely knocked out for their appointment—like they would be if they were undergoing surgery. General anesthesia has more associated risks than conscious sedation options like nitrous oxide or oral conscious sedation, but it is very safe when done properly and with the helpful supervision of nurses and doctors at a hospital.
Schedule with McKinney Pediatric Dentistry Today for Great Care for Your Child
Your child’s health is important to us. Through behavior management options like desensitization and sedation options like nitrous oxide or general anesthesia, we can help your child learn that the dentist doesn’t have to be scary. Call today to schedule your appointment.