Once you have taken your child to the dentist you may be surprised to find out that he has tooth decay in his primary teeth, and that he needs to have treatment. Although the primary, or “baby”, teeth are going to fall out eventually it is important to eliminate dental disease because it is transferable to the permanent teeth.
In additon to the effects it can have on the developing permanent teeth, decay can get progressively worse and cause facial infections, and even result in the need for your child to be admitted to the hospital to have intravenous antibiotics administered.
Children under the age of six are not always able to cooperate for treatment, and may not be able to respond well to “Tell Show Do”, a technique where the dentist explains the procedure to the child, shows him the procedure and then performs the procedure. In order to get treatment done safely the dentist may have to employ alternative methods.
If the child is not able to sit safely on his own, due to lack of comprehension associated with his age, or other conditions that may limit his cognitive ability. A parent or cargiver may be asked to assist the dentist and staff verbally or physically. Some times protective stabilization may be necessary to prevent the child from injurying himself and others, such as a Papoose board.
If only one or two small carious lesions are present you can sometimes hold your child on your lap while the dentist performs the treatment. For more extensive cases of decay, an in office sedation may be recommended with nitrous oxide, “laughing gas”, or oral sedative agents to handle mild to moderate anxiety.
If your child has multiple teeth with deep decay that will require pulp treatments, and crowns the dentist may prefer to treat him under general anesthesia administered by an anesthesiologist at the hospital or surgery center, especially if he is under five years old.
By bringing your child to the dentist you can prevent tooth decay and make your child’s dental visits as pleasant as possible. You and the dentist can build his self esteem and positively affect his coping skills, as well as eliminate the need for extensive dental care.
Ways Used to Provide Necessary Dental Treatment for Uncooperative Children When Their Cognitive Skills are Limited:
- Parental assisted stabilization
- Protective stabilization
- Inhalation or Oral Sedation
- General anesthesia at a hospital or surgery center