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FAQ:  Sedation Dentistry

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Sedation for Children's Cavities: Our 3 year old daughter went to the dentist and it was discovered that she has a good amount of decay on her teeth. Eleven (11) cavities to be exact.

Our pediatric dentist suggested that our daughter receive out patient surgery to fill all of the cavities at one time. My wife and I are a little nervous about having our daughter under general anaesthesia with an IV.

Would it be better if she got some of the work done at the dentist office with the laughing gas? ...Visitor from MD

You have a very good question and I can understand your concerns as your daughter is 3 yrs old.

A pedodontist is a dental specialist and treats cases like your daughter's all the time. Completing 11 restorations all in one appointment for a 3 year old is quite a bit of work, and may be best done in a hospital setting under general anesthesia.

If you have any concerns after speaking with your daughter's pediatric medical doctor, talk again with the pedodontist and see if a hospital appointment would be a better choice.

Since your daughter is 3 and has this high number of cavities it seems this may be one of her first visits to the dentist. If an in office dental appointment is unsuccessful or overly traumatic for your daughter it can create a lifelong phobia or fear of the dentist which would be unfortunate.

I think the goal here is to help your daughter get all her needed dental care done as easily, quickly and with no memory of the appointment. A hospital based pediatric appointment would accomplish all these goals.

Although it will be an investment, I feel it would be the best course of treatment for your 3 year old daughter. After the treatment is done she will have no memory of the care and can prevent a recurrence of more dental problems by cutting down on sugared drinks and foods, brushing and using a fluoride rinse before bed.

I do not feel nitrous oxide (laughing gas) will be sufficient to keep your daughter relaxed enough to complete all 11 restorations in one appointment. She will also remember all the operative filling appointments unlike a general anesthesia hospital based appointment where all the care can be completed at one time.

Editorial Staff

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