There are many changes taking place in a growing child. One of those changes is of course the loss of primary (“baby”) teeth and the addition of permanent (“adult”) teeth. As a part of your child’s comprehensive continuing care plan, we will evaluate growth and development of their teeth and jaws at every appointment. Sometimes minor problems in tooth positioning and alignment can be corrected early in development, possibly eliminating the need for extensive treatment later in life. While interceptive orthodontics cannot always prevent the future need for full orthodontic treatment, in can help to decrease the severity if minor problems are identified and treated early.
When dental treatment cannot be performed in the traditional dental office setting, alternative forms of treatment delivery must be considered. Some reasons for considering alternative treatment methods include advanced stages of dental disease, behavior that will not allow safe and effective delivery of restorative dental techniques, and medical complexities that do not allow patients to receive dental treatment in the dental office setting.
Depending on the individual needs of the patient, several forms of sedation can be provided.
- Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen Analgesia: also known as “laughing gas”, nitrous oxide is used in the dental office to help provide relaxation and decreased anxiety to patients during dental treatment. Nitrous oxide delivered at therapeutic levels for dental treatment will not bring patients to an unconscious state, but many times patients become relaxed enough that they will fall asleep for a few minutes during treatment. The gas is delivered through a mask that covers the patient’s nose and is administered throughout the treatment appointment. Once treatment is complete, patient are allowed to breathe 100% oxygen for 5 minutes, returning them to their preoperative state.
- General Anesthesia: for patients who require deeper levels of sedation, dental treatment can be performed under general anesthesia. This form of sedation/anesthesia is similar to that given if your child were to have tubes placed in their ears or have their tonsils and adenoids removed. The anesthesia is delivered in a surgical center or hospital setting by a medical anesthesiologist. This allows for increased patient safety, having one practitioner administering the medications providing the anesthesia and monitoring that patient while the dentist performs the necessary dental treatment. A comprehensive examination is required to determine if your child is a candidate for comprehensive dental care under general anesthesia.