The Four Levels Of Dental Sedation For Kids

Does your kid need dental sedation for their trip to the dentist? If so, it is important to know about the four different levels of sedation and how effective they are.

Level 1: Laughing Gas

Nitrous oxide, often known as laughing gas, is not a very strong form of dental sedation. It tends to help with children that have a gag reflex, calm their anxiety, and help them hold still for a little bit longer. Laughing gas is not going to make a child that is uncooperative about going to the dentist into an ideal patient, but it can help those that are uncomfortable with the experience. Think of it as adding a little extra comfort to the overall experience.

Level 2: Oral Sedation

If your child has moderate anxiety and a fair amount of dental work to get to in a single visit, your dentist may recommend oral sedation. This is a medication that is taken before going to the dentist, and it makes a child feel more comfortable with the overall experience. They still need to be cooperative about the situation of going to the dentist, because they will still be able to make decisions and decide not to go through with it. Oral sedation can help calm those nerves and prevent someone from being less scared. 

Level 3: Deep Sedation

There is a level of deep sedation that works well for children that are not cooperative about going to the dentist, have severe anxiety, and will have trouble staying still during the appointment. Deep sedation is administered by a nurse anesthetist that is brought in for your child's specific visit. The form of sedation can be used in children, and can even help them stay calm for a dental appointment that may take multiple hours to perform. Your child is going to be very sleepy but can be responsive as well and answer questions during the entire experience. However, your kid will likely not even remember what happens during the appointment. This can help a child have a more enjoyable experience at the dentist because they simply are not aware of what happened and don't experience any discomfort. 

Level 4: General Anesthesia 

There is always the option to use general anesthesia so that a child is completely asleep during the procedure. This is for extreme cases and sometimes done at a children's hospital because it is the highest level of dental sedation. It should be used when a child is completely unwilling to go to the dentist, or as an extreme amount of dental work that needs to be done. 

To learn more about sedation dentistry, contact a dental office near you.