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Archive for July, 2018

Are Pediatric Dental Sedation Drugs Safe for Toddlers? Yes! Local to General Anesthesia Options

Smile Reef

Many concerns come with sedation dentistry. There are lot of questions that have been raised about how safe sedation and anesthesia are in pediatric dentistry and there are even reports that complications have led to deaths in rare cases. It’s reassuring to know that when done by a qualified, experienced and highly trained dentist, surgeon or anesthesiologist, sedation dentistry is extremely safe. For children that are anxious or have special needs, sedation dentistry is a great way to make sure they get the dental care they need. When anxiety takes over, children will become fearful and are likely to resist. As they grow older it will get worse and they might start skipping dental visits all together.

Sedation Options for Children

There are a few options to consider with sedation. The one the dentist will recommend will depend on the procedure, the length of time it will take and your child’s needs.
1. Local anesthesia– This is the simplest option and involves the injection of numbing medication around the area that will be treated. Local anesthesia works to block the nerve in the area that transmit pain. Numbness will be felt in the area to be treated. This is almost always used with another form of anesthesia to reduce the amount of anesthetic needed to make the patient comfortable.
2. Nitrous Oxide– When patients are anxious, nitrous oxide will be used along with local anesthetic. It is also known as ‘laughing gas’. Nitrous oxide is very effective in reducing anxiety in patients that are cooperative, but may not work in patients that cannot sit still or those who are scared of the dentist. Patients will remember most of the procedure. It is not used as a sedative but just to reduce anxiety levels.
3. Oral Sedation– Oral sedation is swallowed and will be given in syrup or pill form. The effect will cause the patients to relax for the dental procedure. There are some problems with oral sedation as it can take 30 minutes or more to work and can last a long time. Many patients don’t feel completely awake for 2 to 6 hours afterwards. Doses cannot be titrated either, which means the patient may not be sedated correctly for the procedure and if it wears off too early, the patient will feel pain.
4. IV Sedation– To ease treatment, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon or pediatric anesthesiologist will administer measured doses of anti-anxiety drugs. These doses are given through an IV line and are very carefully measured and adjusted as needed for each patient. The doses can also be titrated to get the exact sedation needed. The child will have no memory of the procedure, so future appointments won’t be scary.
5. General Anesthesia– If a child is unable to cooperate during the procedure for any reason, then general anesthesia may be necessary. There is a risk with general anesthesia, but it’s very small. All patients will need to be evaluated and a medical exam along with blood work may be needed.

Sedation Dentistry

There are ways to make dental procedures easier and more enjoyable for your child. Smile Reef has the training and experience needed to figure out the best option for your child so going to the dentist isn’t so scary. Call our office today.

Deformed Teeth, Overbite & Other Consequences of Thumb Sucking, & Easy Ways to Stop it!

Smile Reef

So many parents smile as they watch their newborn babies put their adorable little thumbs in their mouths for the first time. Thumb sucking is an extremely natural and automatic action for young children and it can be endearing to witness. When babies suck their thumb, it helps soothe them and allows them to explore the environment around them. But if sucking habits continue past the age of five or six, it’s possible that problems with their teeth can occur.

Overbite from Thumb Sucking

As children suck their thumb the sucking motion will slowly make changes to the mouth and teeth. The American Dentistry Association has detailed that danger of thumb sucking is that the front teeth may jut out, and the child’s bite will be open, not allowing the upper and lower front teeth to touch. These skeletal changes begin to affect the alignment of the permanent or secondary teeth. If the habit can be stopped soon enough, the bite may automatically correct itself. Your child’s dentist can monitor your child’s bite and refer you to an orthodontist if necessary.

Easy Ways to Stop Thumb Sucking

Most children that suck their thumbs as babies and toddlers will eventually stop without any issues. If parents simply ignore the behavior many times the child will realize that this behavior is not acceptable from social situations and peer pressure. As the child enters kindergarten and is still sucking their thumb, parents may have to jump in and help the behavior stop. If you are ready to help your child stop sucking their thumb what can you do to help? We recommend trying some of the following tips:
• Trying positive reinforcement is always the first option. Making a chart that helps track your child’s progress as they quit is always an excellent place to start. When they reach certain milestones in the process you can have a reward system set in place.
• Being encouraging and praising your child when they begin to stop will help them stay motivated as they seek to stop sucking their thumb.
• You may consider taking your child to a pediatric dentist. Here at Smile Reef, we love teaching children about the positive effects of stopping the habit. Pairing with a dental professional can help validate the parents request in the child’s eyes. While your child is on our office we can also teach them about oral hygiene, help prevent tooth decay, and monitor their dental growth and development.
• May children will suck their thumb when they are stressed out or bored. Recognizing these triggers can help you distract them during times when they typically would fall back into the habit of thumb sucking. Extra hugs if they are stressed out may help. If your child is bored, help them find an activity to keep their hands busy.

Pediatric Dental Care

We hope that if your children have picked up the habit of sucking their thumb, they will stop all on their own. If not, we hope that some of the tips we shared will help them stop sucking their thumb. Keeping your child’s bite from having negative consequences that can result from thumb sucking for too long can be a tough job. Dr. Jensen and our staff here at Smile Reef will be happy to help you and your children on the journey if assistance is needed! Contact us today.