How young is too young for sedation?

My 11-year-old daughter found out she has her first cavity and it devastated her so much she began to cry. When I try to talk to her about it, she turns and walk away and get very upset. I can tell if she is upset because of being afraid to have it filled or if it’s the cavity itself. This is totally out of character for her – she is usually very bubbly. Would it be better to switch to a pediatric dentist? I’m also wondering if sedation would be ok for her age. I want to do all I can to make this easier on her and help her if she is feeling anxious about fixing the tooth. — Cheryl in Oklahoma

There’s not doubt the pre-teen years are difficult and it sounds like your daughter is feeling some anxiety. She’s probably emotional because she is unsure of what is involved in filling the tooth. If it’s fear that is taking hold, you might seek out a sedation dentist if your family dentist doesn’t offer it. Be ready with her full medical history for the dentist and because he will have to calibrate the medications precisely for her age and weight, make sure you provide the most accurate information you can. Sedation dentists are specially trained to assist anxious patients, so even if you decide that medication is not the best for your daughter, they can still help with her anxiety.

A pediatric dentist is a great option as well and she is not too old to make the switch. What’s nice about a pediatric office is that they are specially trained to deal with kids and they make it a fun and relaxing experience. It’s likely that they could help put your daughter at ease without the use of medication, but many do provide sedation services, too.

Start collecting some information of recommended sedation dentists and pediatric dentists in your area. If you contact them and share the details of your daughter’s situation, they likely want to get started with a simple dental exam. This will be a great time for her to meet the dentist and develop a comfort level with the staff before diving into further treatment.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Alana Macalik. For more information on the services she provides, visit her Arlington cosmetic dentist website.