We had a regular visit with my son’s pediatric dentist today. It was very frustrating. We were told that my son not only has to have several cavities filled, but he also needs to get caps on a couple of teeth. The frustrating part is that the dentist won’t just sedate my son and get it all done in one appointment. I have to bring him back several times over several weeks. Why? Is the dentist just trying to make more money off of me than he’s going to anyway?
James, Hyde Park, MA
By stretching the work your son needs to be done over several appointments, it may seem that the dentist is trying to pad his pocketbook. As adults, we are often able to use sedation dentistry to get a lot of work done quickly and in the most comfortable manner. Unfortunately, that’s not always the best scenario with children and your son’s dentist may feel such.
It’s not a standard practice for most pediatric dentists to use sedation on children. Some think that when people are sedated during an appointment, they are asleep. This isn’t true. The medication used for sedation helps a patient be very calm and relaxed, so much so that they may not even remember much about the appointment, but they aren’t asleep. Dentists need their patients to be able to follow simple commands.
Why not use sedation?
Sedation does deal with medication, and with any medication, there may be side effects. Although patients under sedation are closely monitored, it’s not always recommended for children.
Another reason sedation isn’t routinely used is that pediatric dentists are used to treating children. It’s not unusual for their patients to feel scared or nervous, or for their patients to have considerable work to be done. Most likely your pediatric dentist has experienced your son’s same scenario several times and knows from experience how to get the work done in the safest, most comfortable, and reasonable way. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the most convenient way or the cheapest.
Speak to your son’s dentist before the work on his teeth begins and ask questions. He may be willing to work with you to create a treatment plan you are comfortable with or that is affordable. If you are still concerned, you could always get a second opinion for your son’s care.
This post is sponsored by Dr. Ryan Perry a family dentist in Baton Rouge, LA.