At Children’s Dentistry of Charlottesville, one of our core beliefs is that dental appointments should be a pleasant experience for kids. We want children to grow up with a healthy relationship to the dentist so that they don’t dread going to see the dentist as adults.
We focus on creating a comfortable environment in our office for you and your children. We do this by employing a number of strategies– first being we all love coming to work each day and enjoy working with your children. We’re passionate about kids and teeth. We try to bring that passion to every single patient encounter, every single day.
Even though we try and bring it every day, we know that some kids are still going to be afraid of the dentist. We get it. There’s a lot of foreign things in dental offices, that can seem scary to kids. Maybe the office smells funny to a child’s sensitive nose. The doctors and assistants wear masks. There are bright lights. Drills make funny sounds. Dental instruments look sharp. Sometimes kids get shots at the dentist.
In general, there’s just a lot going on all at once. No matter how hard we work to set your child at ease, sometimes he or she will still be too afraid to cooperate for the dentist. And that’s ok! We have good news: there are other options.
How We Work With Our Patients
At Children’s Dentistry of Charlottesville, one of the things that makes us truly unique is our ability to provide sedation and anesthesia services in our office. It’s not for every child and every family. When you bring your child in for his or her first appointment, we evaluate your child’s behavior and ability to tolerate dental treatment.
It’s perfectly normal for your child to be unable to cooperate for the dentist. If they are afraid, don’t worry. That doesn’t mean that something is wrong. That just means that we have explore different options. In our office, if your child is too afraid to tolerate regular dental appointments we will usually recommend sedation or anesthesia to complete their dental work.
Sedation Dentistry Options
Sedation dentistry is a term that you have probably heard before. It’s a general, blanket term that covers a whole range of possible treatment options. It can range from a liquid medicine or pill that your child swallows that just helps them feel drowsy and calmer, to general anesthesia.
In our office, what we do general anesthesia most frequently, and when we refer to sedation dentistry this is what we are talking about. After I finished dental school I did a 2-year residency program in anesthesia services for dentistry. My training experience was split with 50% in a dental clinic providing anesthesia for children and patients with special health care needs and 50% in a hospital alongside medical anesthesiologists providing anesthesia for general surgery cases.
It was an amazing experience, that pushed me to learn how to provide anesthesia for cases that are much more difficult than anything we do in our office. The great thing is, compared to surgical procedures the dental procedures we perform minimally invasive, which helps to greatly reduce the overall risk your child is exposed to.
What’s Next On Our Blog?
Over the next several blog posts we are going to look in depth at anesthesia in the dental setting and really explore this topic. We are going to cover why we most commonly do general anesthesia instead of conscious sedation, what an appointment actually looks like start to finish, what steps we take to ensure we keep this process as safe as possible, and the reasons why anesthesia is being used more frequently for dental procedures.