Sedation is a technique used to guide a child’s behavior during dental treatment. Medications are used to help improve cooperation and to reduce apprehension or discomfort. Sedative medications typically cause children to become relaxed, drowsy and forgetful of their dental visit. Unlike general anesthesia, sedation is not intended to make a patient unconscious or unresponsive.
Sedation is indicated for children who have a level of anxiety that prevents good coping skills, those who are very young and do not understand how to cooperate, and those who require extensive dental treatment. Sedation can also be helpful for some patients who have special health care needs.
Various medications are used alone or in combination based upon each child’s overall health, level of anxiety and dental treatment needs.
Sedation is safe and effective when administered by a pediatric dentist who follows the sedation guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.