7 Reasons to Add Pediatric Sedation to Your Practice

Can sedation dentistry prevent an anxious child from developing a dental phobia as an adult? Learn what pediatric sedation can do for your patients and practice.

By Susan Richards

Incorporating sedation into any dental practice can benefit the practitioner and the patients. The addition of sedation can be equally rewarding for dentists who treat children, either in general practice or a dedicated pediatric dental office.

The four types of sedation for dentistry are generally anxiolysis/minimal, oral conscious (enteral) sedation, IV moderate (parenteral) sedation, and deep sedation/general anesthesia. Because children are not physiologically small adults, different clinical considerations and risk assessments are involved before administering any sedation. Fortunately, due to advances in sedation medications and education, relegating complex cases to hospital settings is no longer necessary.

A properly trained dentist can enjoy many benefits and flexibility by integrating pediatric sedation into the practice. Studies have shown that today’s practitioners administering modern drugs in new ways are seeing high levels of success. Here are seven reasons why it may be right for you.

1. Better Patient Experience

Pediatric sedation can ease the anxiety and fear that can arise in young patients when visiting the dentist, especially if their oral health has been neglected or extensive treatment is required. By proxy, this can also lead to less stress for the parents, which translates back to the child.

2. Efficient Workflow

A calm and sedated patient is easier to treat, making a smoother procedure and more efficient use of time and resources in the office. A well-trained sedation team adds to the workflow efficiency in any office.

3. Improved Treatment Acceptance Rates

The value of the dentist’s time isn’t the only consideration when treating children. Parents and guardians who need to rearrange schedules or take time off work for multiple dental appointments are much more likely to accept treatment plans that can be handled in a single visit, thanks to sedation.

4. Prevent Long-Term Dental Phobia

Many adults with dental anxiety developed fears from negative childhood experiences in the dentist’s chair. By eliminating that trauma with sedation, doctors and parents are laying the groundwork for a lifelong, positive relationship with oral healthcare.

5. Economic Advantages

The explosion of the caries crisis and other challenges facing the pediatric dental population can lead to full schedules but low margins. Incorporating sedation and innovative scheduling techniques can reduce costs and increase profits. Expanding to offer specialized treatments and invasive procedures will also increase ROI through sedation.

6. Customizable Sedation

No two pediatric dental cases are alike, so sedation is never a one-size-fits-all option. Oral conscious sedation may be combined with N2O when necessary for anxious young patients, or a dental anesthesiologist can be called in for more complex cases.

7. Enhanced Access

Many children, by nature of their age, struggle with communication and impulse control. Extreme dental phobias, behavioral issues, and other special needs can also be exacerbated in the dentist’s chair, making it difficult for patients to get the care they need. These populations can significantly benefit from sedation, creating a “niche” offering in your practice while improving their oral health and quality of life.

Is Pediatric Sedation Right for Your Practice?

Integrating pediatric sedation into your practice will require training and certification for specialized techniques and safety protocols. It’s also advisable to check with regulatory requirements for pediatric sedation in your state.

However, the seven benefits we’ve mentioned can far outweigh the challenges. Pediatric dentist and educator Dr. Roger Sanger, DDS, considers “no memory,” oral conscious sedation a game changer in pediatric dentistry.

“In one visit, we’re doing all their dental work. We’re using safe, effective new drugs. Parents love it. We love it. Kids love it.” He adds with a smile, “Well, they don’t remember it, so they love it.”

If you’re ready to explore pediatric sedation, DOCS Education presents an incredible event that only happens once a year. Build your itinerary in Costa Mesa, California, on October 27-28. Learn more here and register today!


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Author: Susan Richards is a staff writer at DOCS Education. With over 20 years of experience in local journalism and business marketing, Susan’s career includes award-winning feature writing, as well as creating content with context for a wide variety of industries.

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