My Child Has Dental Anxiety — Now What?

Dec 21, 2020

At Stellar Kids Dentistry in Mukilteo, Everett, and Mill Creek, Washington, we understand that not every child is excited to visit the dentist. In fact, up to 20% of school age children struggle with dental anxiety, or fear of visiting the dentist. 

There are many reasons children feel anxious about seeing the dentist. Some kids are scared to be separated from their parents, while others have severe dental phobias due to generalized anxiety.

We know how important it is to foster positive relationships with our pediatric patients for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Their oral health is of the utmost importance to us, but keeping your children comfortable and relaxed is also one of our top priorities.

That’s why Stellar Kids Dentistry strives to deliver personalized care for every child. We offer a variety of anesthetics and sedation techniques to help ease your child’s anxieties. 

Not sure what sedation dentistry is? Here’s some insightful information to help you make an educated decision about your child’s dental care.

What is sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry refers to the use of sedative medications during a dental procedure. Most offices offer local anesthesia, which numbs pain, but it isn’t always enough to ease dental anxiety.

Depending on the reason for your child’s visit, and how severe their dental anxiety is, the team at Stellar Kids Dentistry can determine the appropriate sedation technique for your child.

Are there different types of sedation dentistry?

Stellar Kids Dentistry uses several different types of sedation at their offices, such as:

Nitrous oxide

Known commonly as N2O, or laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a safe, effective treatment for dental anxiety in children. It’s a clear gas that your child breathes in at the beginning of their visit, so no needles or serious medication is involved.

Laughing gas begins working almost instantly and wears off quickly, typically within 2-3 minutes. Your child will be breathing in extra oxygen the whole time.

What makes nitrous oxide a helpful sedation treatment for children is that it:

  • Reduces anxiety
  • Relieves pain
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Reduces the gag reflex

Many children who have taken nitrous oxide describe experiencing a floating sensation that makes them feel content and relaxed.

Oral sedation

If nitrous oxide isn’t enough to ease your child’s anxieties, Stellar Kids Dentistry offers oral sedation with a mixture of Versed (Midazolam) and flavored Tylenol® (acetaminophen). When combined, these two medications can relieve pain and promote muscle relaxation.

Versed can also cause a fuzzy memory, so your child may not remember everything about their visit. Since they will be awake during their visit, your child can listen to calming music or watch a movie, as the office has state-of-the-art TVs above every dental chair.

General anesthesia

General anesthesia, or deep sedation, puts your child to sleep during their visit. At Stellar Kids Dentistry, two dental professionals monitor your child during the entire appointment if they’re under deep sedation.

The team recommends general anesthesia if your child has:

Only you can determine what’s best for your child. If you’re still unsure whether sedation dentistry is right for your child, call the experienced dental team at Stellar Kids Dentistry or schedule a visit online today!