Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

What to know when choosing dental sedation for your autistic child

Going to the dentist can be overwhelming for autistic children. Patients may become too anxious and unwilling to receive the dental care they need. In these cases, dental sedation may be beneficial. As a family dentist working for over 17 years, I’ve used sedation methods in my own practice. It can be a great option for a patient with additional needs to receive the care they need. While dental sedation is a completely safe option, there are a few things to know before deciding to use it.

Different types of sedation

There are three common types of sedation methods that your dentist may use, and they will advise you on which method will work best based on the type of care that’s needed.

The methods include:

? Nitrous Oxide: This medicine is inhaled through a nose mask. It’s recommended that this method is used on children who are older than five as they must keep breathing throughout the appointment. In some cases, a patient will not respond to nitrous oxide and another method may need to be used.

? Conscious Sedation: This method involves the use of sedatives to produce a calm, sleepy state without losing consciousness. The sedative is given as a pill or liquid one hour prior to the procedure.

? General Anesthesia: General Anesthesia involves the loss of consciousness and is usually the last resort for those who don’t respond to the first two options. It needs to be administered in a hospital or fully equipped healthcare center.

Patients with special needs may respond in a wide variety of ways and there can be serious side effects. One way to know if dental sedation will work and be safe for your child or is to get a screening to rule out respiratory issues and any medical contradictions.

Conflicting medical conditions

If your child suffers from other medical conditions, you will have to take extra precautions to make sure that dental sedation is the safest option. Sometimes dental sedation can conflict with other medical conditions, in these cases, it’s best to find another method for dental care. The last thing you want is to have your child experience a dental emergency because of a conflicting condition. For more information on special needs dental care and dental emergencies visit emergencydentistsusa.com. Speak to your dentist about any medical conditions that your loved one has and ensure that dental sedation will be the safest option. Your dentist is committed to the safety of their patients.

Preparing for the appointment

Once you have chosen a sedation method, the next step is to prepare for the appointment. A few days or weeks before the appointment, start introducing your loved one to what the process is like. You can do this with visuals such as videos or storybooks. You can even explain any good experiences you’ve had at the dentist to help them feel more comfortable.

If your child is anxious on the day of their appointment, the best thing you can do is stay positive and encouraging. If your child takes regular medications, be sure to let your dentist know ahead of time to make sure these medications won’t interfere with the sedation medications.

Dental sedation can be a safe and great way for your loved one to receive the dental care they need, especially if they get easily overwhelmed by the sensory elements at the dentist. Talk with your dental care provider about if it’s the best option.

This guest blog is published as sponsored content, submitted and authored by Dr Greg Grillo, Director of Dentistry at Emergency Dentists USA.


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