Did you know: a small but significant portion of adults experiences serious dental phobia? A greater portion—up to 20% of adult Americans—will only visit the dentist when absolutely necessary, often due to anxiety and unpleasant experiences. These figures pale in comparison to the number of children who experience dental anxiety. A 2013 study found that 74.1% of surveyed children experienced moderate to severe anxiety when visiting the dentist, with a full 20.5% classified as suffering from severe dental anxiety.
For kids with dental phobias, conscious sedation dentistry in Pennsylvania is a great solution. That’s why Penn Dental Medicine is proud to offer conscious sedation anesthesia for our anxious young patients.
What exactly is dental phobia—and why are so many children affected by it?
Loosely defined as a general fear of visiting a dental office or receiving dental care, dental phobia can be triggered by a variety of factors. Dental offices are outside of many children’s comfort zones. Aside from being unfamiliar, they can be filled with strange-appearing instruments, unusual smells, frightening sounds (such as drilling), and other frightened young patients.
If these fears aren’t addressed or accommodated, many children will avoid visiting the dentist or try to conceal dental issues they may be experiencing from their parents. Pediatric dentistry is critical for kids, and avoiding the dentist can lead to more serious oral issues and, in some cases, a lifetime of neglected dental care.
A calming, intentional dentist is the first step toward a more positive experience for your child. At Penn Dental Medicine, our pediatric student dentists and supervisors are kid-focused and skilled at working with kids on their level. This helps to alleviate kids’ concerns. Still, when the time for dental operations comes around, even the best bedside manners might not be able to eliminate their fear. That’s where pediatric conscious sedation dentistry in PA comes into play.
What exactly does pediatric conscious sedation dentistry in PA entail? This is a question you’ll want to have answered prior to your children undergoing procedures while sedated.
Conscious sedation is a combination of anesthesia and relaxants. A sedative medication will be administered to your child to allow them to relax for their dental work This sedative is mixed with a pain-blocking anesthetic, which will prevent your child from physically feeling the effects of the operation. These medications will be given prior to the start of the procedure and gradually wear off after the procedure’s conclusion. In most cases, your child will stay awake but be in a fully relaxed, quiet, and lethargic state.
Conscious sedation is most commonly used for very young patients, patients with high levels of dental anxiety, and patients who have special health care needs. Penn Dental Medicine patients in need of this special treatment method will be treated either on-site in the Penn Dental Medicine clinic or at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
In some cases, general anesthesia may be recommended instead of conscious sedation. For young patients in need of general anesthesia for their dental procedures, treatment will take place at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Penn Dental Medicine is the dental clinic associated with the University of Pennsylvania dental program. That means your treatment will be handled by the most skilled, qualified, and well-educated dental students, under the direct supervision of leading dental professionals. It also means that your treatment will be exceptionally affordable. As a teaching clinic, Penn Dental Medicine is able to offer elite-grade care at low rates.
Pediatric dentistry is one of Penn Dental Medicine’s specialty services. We feature a team of pediatric specialists-in-training with oversight provided by licensed pediatric dentists. During your child’s first visit, we’ll focus on familiarizing them with dentistry and helping them to feel comfortable and at ease. After evaluating your child’s oral health, we’ll compose a personalized program of home care for your child, supplemented by dental visits with routine preventive care, such as cleanings and fluoridation. During these visits, sedation is usually not needed except in the most extreme cases of dental anxiety.
If your child has dental anxiety or will need to undergo a serious dental procedure, access to pediatric conscious sedation dentistry in Pennsylvania is essential. Penn Dental Medicine can provide for your child’s needs. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact Penn Dental Medicine today.