Anesthesia or Sedation

Anesthesia or Sedation: Which Is Best for Children?

March 1, 2023 | By Molarbear

When children require oral surgery, chances are high; you may have questions and wonder whether your child will receive anesthesia or sedation. While you may not express concern with oral conscious sedation, you will likely want to discuss anesthesia with Houston’s pediatric dentist, requesting clarification on its safety. Most importantly, you will want to know which is better for children, anesthesia or sedation.

Sedation routinely helps calm patients scheduled for intensive dental procedures by providing sedatives like tranquilizers, antianxiety medications, muscle relaxants, and nitrous oxide delivered in various ways and ingested orally as dentists recommend. Children also receive mild or deep sedation depending on the dental procedure they need.

While sedation dentistry is most popular among adults and children in the US and Canada, it doesn’t relegate anesthesia into the background because some surgical procedures are better performed under anesthesia, even for children.

Safety of General Anesthesia

Anesthesia generally helps to make patients unconscious and helps by working as a pain management tool. However, unlike sedation, anesthesia requires various medicines to sedate to control pain. Anesthesia is delivered by anesthesiologists, trained professionals who carefully adjust the doses of the drugs after considering the child’s age, body weight, et cetera. Anesthesiologists ensure children receive only additional drugs required for their specific procedure. In addition, anesthesiologists also monitor patients to ensure they are asleep during the entire process and have a painless experience.

Unlike a generation earlier, anesthesia is currently safe because of technological and drug advances. Anesthesia is getting safer encouraging more professionals to seek training as anesthesiologists. Over the last decade, more pediatric anesthesiologists have received training to provide safe and effective sedation for children, even during complicated dental surgeries.

Pediatric Anesthesia Risks

Although general anesthesia has a low risk of complications even when given to very young children, the side effects are relatively minor and do not progress beyond nausea and tiredness. However, the FDA warns against repeated use of general anesthesia in children under three, claiming it might affect brain development. Unfortunately, the warnings are based on animal studies, and more research is ongoing to determine the safety of anesthesia or sedation for children needing dental procedures.

Studies conducted on children under three receiving a single exposure to anesthesia revealed the child’s IQ scores weren’t affected later. In addition, anesthesiology guidelines suggest postponing elective surgeries the children might need until later. However, no restrictions have been proposed on refraining from providing children with general anesthesia that might affect their overall development, and the procedure requires general anesthesia to sedate the child.

Pediatric Sedation Vs. Anesthesia: Which Is Better

Sedation dentistry near you provides routine exams and cleanings and does not consider using general anesthesia on children not cooperating during dental visits. Instead, they prefer selecting your child using nitrous oxide, also called laughing gas, an inhalable effective for sedating children within minutes and waking them up similarly without side effects.

Nitrous oxide helps dentists sedate children by placing a mask over the nose and asking them to breathe the gas that relaxes them during minor dental procedures. The gas dissipates within minutes when the dentist switches off its supply and delivers oxygen through the mask. Unfortunately, the gas is often unsuitable for significant procedures like root canals or extractions that children might need to eliminate infections in their teeth.

Sedation dentistry Houston recommends oral conscious sedation to children in pill or liquid form to help relax them before the appointment for intensive dental procedures. The dosage of drugs prescribed depends on the process the dentist must perform and your child’s dental anxiety. Dentists suggest children have the prescribed drugs one hour before their dental appointment and arrive at the practice accompanied by a caregiver. Sedation helps relax children by eliminating their dental anxiety without inducing unconsciousness but merely making them drowsy and oblivious to their surroundings. Most importantly, sedation removes the fear of needles because most children don’t like needles poking in their bodies when awake. However, children don’t realize they receive local anesthesia in the mouth to block pain impulses even after receiving sedatives to calm their nerves.

If your child needs an intensive dental surgery challenging to perform under sedation and the dentist suggests using general anesthesia as a better option, kindly do not hesitate to get your child to receive the treatments. Dentists will have trained anesthesiologists delivering the drugs and make arrangements to calm your child using nitrous oxide to ensure your kids fall asleep before receiving general anesthesia. The anesthesiologist will also awaken your child after the dentist completes the procedure to leave you and your child satisfied with the treatment.

Molar Bear Pediatric Dentistry suggests general anesthesia for some pediatric patients needing extensive dental procedures. They perform the surgery in a hospital setting after giving you explicit instructions on the modalities to follow before arriving at their practice for the essential treatment your child needs. Therefore consult them for surgical procedures your child needs under anesthesia or sedation without questioning the authenticity of these sedatives.

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