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Sedation Dentistry for Children – Helena, MT

Helping Anxious Kids Safely Relax

Does your child feel nervous when it’s time for a dental appointment? Do they cry at every checkup and cleaning? At Kalmor Dental, we don’t try to just ignore children’s fears, but rather teach them why dentistry is nothing to be afraid of. One way we do this is by providing sedation dentistry, a safe and effective approach that can calm a child’s mind and protect them from discomfort at the same time. With it, we can make even the most anxious child enjoy their dental visits. Would your child benefit from using sedation? Contact us today to learn more!

Nitrous Oxide(Laughing Gas)

Woman with nitrous oxide nasal mask

Nitrous oxide is a colorless, odorless gas that has been used for over 100 years to help soothe dental patients of all ages. It’s ideal for a child who is only a little nervous about going to the dentist. They’ll simply need to inhale the gas through a small nasal mask, and it will give them a warm, happy, and even floaty feeling during their appointment. The mask will stay on the entire time, and once it is removed, the gas’ effects wear off almost instantly, enabling your child to go straight back to their day.

IV Sedation

Relaxed woman receiving dental treatment

IV sedation is ideal for any child who experiences severe dental anxiety, and it’s widely recognized as one of the safest ways to sedate a child. For this, a medication similar to valium will be administered via IV in either their arm or hand, and within moments, your child will feel extremely mentally and physically relaxed. With this approach, we can even adjust their sedation level in real time to make sure they are completely comfortable moment to moment.

IV Sedation Frequently Asked Questions

What Is IV Sedation?

IV sedation involves placing a small catheter into a vein in order to administer medication directly into the bloodstream. This helps it act faster compared to other sedation methods, and it’s ideal for children who experience a lot of fear and difficulty at the dentist.

Can IV Sedation Help Even If My Child Is Afraid of Needles?

Many children are afraid of needles, which is why we give them an oral sedative before the catheter is placed. By the time the needle actually goes in, your child will already be very relaxed, and it will feel like just a small pinch on the back of their hand.

How Would I Know If IV Sedation Is Right For My Child?

We typically recommend IV sedation for children who have severe dental anxiety to the point that milder forms of sedation, including nitrous oxide and oral sedatives, would not be helpful. It can also be helpful for children who do not respond to traditional behavior management techniques or have difficulty sitting still for an extended amount of time.

What Medications Are Used with IV Sedation?

We can use one of several medications for IV sedation, including benzodiazepines as well as short acting narcotics and antihistamines. Despite whichever one we use, none of them will render your child unconscious, enabling them to respond to basic commands during an appointment. We will ask you about your child’s medical history beforehand so we can choose the medication that best suits them.

Is IV Sedation Safe?

At Kalmor Dental, yes, as our office is fully qualified and certified to use IV sedation by the Montana Dental Board. We utilize the latest monitoring equipment to keep an eye on a child’s heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation during their procedure. We also have a number of safety measures and protocols in place to prevent and deal with any potential complications.

What Should I Do Before My Child's Sedation Appointment?

Because your child will likely be nervous, we recommend that you minimize discussing their upcoming appointment as much as possible. Should your child become sick beforehand, please contact our office, as we may need to reschedule. On rare occasions, the medicines we use can cause nausea or vomiting, so it is important that your child not eat right before their appointment. We can go over what their specific food and fluid intake should be prior to them coming to see us so you can both be fully prepared.

Do I Need To Do Anything After My Child's IV Sedation Appointment?

Children who have undergone IV sedation should stay home for the rest of the day and remain under close supervision. Your child will likely have little to no memory of their appointment afterward, and the medication should wear off in about 12 hours.

Your child may experience a few side effects from the medication, including:

  • Dizziness: Your child should initially avoid stairs, bicycles, or any other activity that could result in a fall. We recommend that you hold your child’s hand while walking or pick them up if necessary after their appointment.
  • Nausea/Vomiting: You should restrict your child’s movement and only have them ingest small amounts of cool, clear liquids right after their appointment. If they are able to hold this down, you can progress to semi-solid foods like soup and noodles, working them gradually back to their normal diet.
  • Hallucinations: This is very rare, but if your child starts seeing things, just stay calm and reassure them that everything is safe.
  • Mood Swings: These can occur suddenly, but they are usually very brief.

If you have any questions during your child’s recovery, you can always call our office for more information.

In-Office General Anesthesia

Patient receiving dental exam

We’re proud to say that Kalmor Dental is the only children’s dentistry practice in the state of Montana that offers in-house general anesthesia. For this, we will bring in a dental anesthesiologist to help your child literally sleep through their appointment and make sure everything is as safe as possible. This approach is best for children who are petrified of the dentist, need extensive dental work, or have mental or physical special needs that make sitting still difficult.

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