Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can children receive sedation dentistry if the dentist makes them anxious?"
My 10-year-old daughter hates the dentist. How can I keep her calm?
A dentist visit can be a frightening and anxiety provoking experience for a child and there are various ways to help them cope with the visit. You should speak to both your pediatrician and your dentist regarding the best method to manage your child's anxiety. There are various options to consider and discuss with your providers. First, a pediatric dentist may have assistants who are trained with techniques to calm children including games and movies. This on its own can many times calm down nervous children and no further interventions may be required. If your child is still very anxious, you may consider a small dose of an oral anti-anxiety medication such as lorazepam. This is not a decision that should be made lightly and you should discuss your child's past medical history, anxiety history, and dental procedure with the pediatrician that knows her the best. Of course, there may be side effects to this medication, so prior to speaking to your pediatrician and dentist you should try to quantify your daughter's anxiety. If a longer dental procedure is required such a tooth filling, some dentists will use inhaled nitric oxide to help calm patients. This is something that you should discuss with your dentist. Anxiety is common in children regarding physician and dentist visits and some treatments may be available, but sitting down and having an in depth conversation with your daughter regarding the visit and her anxiety may be enough to help her. You should follow up with your dentist and pediatrician regarding the possibilities.
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