Reduce Anxiety, Improve Experiences
An early visit to the pediatric dentist, preferably by the time your child is age one, is one of the most important ways you can help ensure your child enjoys dental experiences in a safe and comfortable atmosphere. Each child is different in the way they react to dental treatment and their needs vary greatly from that of an adult patient. If your child is afraid of the dentist or fearful of dental appointments, come visit our office! At Dentistry for Children & Adolescents, we strive to create an atmosphere that reduces anxiety and helps your child feel safe and relaxed throughout all their experiences.
Easing Fears Through Medication-Free Methods
Dr. Santos-Cordero is trained in a variety of behavior guidance techniques to allow your child to explore dentistry with trust and reduced anxiety. One way we can help ease an anxious child’s fears is through the Tell-Show-Do Technique. This three-step process lets children become familiar with our treatments, the dental tools we use, and how we use each tool during their appointment. We may also use the Modeling Technique, which pairs your child with a peer who is calm and cooperative. Most commonly, we use positive reinforcement, gentle verbal and non-verbal communication, coaching, distraction and parental participation to help your child feel confident and engaged in their dental experiences. Using a combination of all of these methods, Dr. Santos-Cordero and our team can help your anxious child overcome fears and hesitations, and become excited about visits to our pediatric dental office.
Taking Anxiety One Step Further
We have found that, even with a lot of TLC, dental treatment in children can be challenging at times. Some children may have a high level of anxiety, oral aversions and other special healthcare needs that limit their ability to accept dental treatment in a conventional fashion. Patients that present these types of difficulties can benefit from dental treatment under sedation. The goals of sedation are to facilitate quality care while promoting a safe environment and a positive psychological response to treatment. We never provide sedation dentistry services without first fully assessing each unique situation and what is best for your child. If necessary, we will provide you with different sedation alternatives for your child, including nitrous oxide, IV sedation and hospital dentistry.
Our Sedation Dentistry Options
Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
Nitrous Oxide is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry since your child remains fully conscious during treatment. It is used to calm a child’s fear of the dental visit and enhance effective communication. It also works for children whose gag-reflex interferes with treatment and those who are worried about the sounds, sensations and sights of dental treatment. Nitrous oxide may not be effective on a very young child, a child that is uncomfortable wearing a nasal mask and/or a child that is crying during treatment.
IV Sedation mimics physiologic sleep and your child is able to breathe on his own and respond to stimuli. It is not the same as general anesthesia used in a hospital. IV sedation is particularly effective for patients that show extreme fear to dental procedures, young children that require extensive treatment and some patients with special healthcare needs. It allows the child to complete all of his dental treatment in one visit eliminating the need for repeat visits. IV Sedation is performed in our office with the assistance of a board certified pediatric anesthesiologist.
General Anesthesia is a controlled state of unconsciousness that eliminates awareness, movement and discomfort during dental treatment. Breathing and vital signs are assisted and monitored at all times by a licensed physician who specializes in anesthesia. General anesthesia requires a hospital setting where potential complications can be minimized. It provides a safe, efficient and effective dental care for patients who cannot cooperate due to extreme anxiety and/or certain physical, mental or medically compromising conditions.
Sedation Dentistry from Trained Specialists
With over 20 years of experience with pediatric sedation dentistry, Dr. Maribel Santos-Cordero is fully knowledgeable and skilled at helping your child relax and feel calm during any procedure. As a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist, Dr. Santos-Cordero has the training and experience necessary to provide you with different sedation alternatives for your child. She considers the safety of each of her patients, the amount of treatment needed and all other behavior guidance techniques before recommending the use of any type of sedation. We partner with Pediatric Dental Anesthesia Associates to provide safe and effective in-office IV sedation treatment. Dr. Santos-Cordero provides hospital dentistry at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida to ensure that any advanced sedation dentistry we recommend is administered and monitored by a trained pediatric specialist.