Children with special health care needs may require sedation even for routine cleanings, restorative procedures, and minimal oral surgery. Sedation options for children with special needs include local anesthesia, nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and general anesthesia. If there is concern about cooperation or ability to tolerate oral manipulation, consider referral to a pediatric dentist or a specialist with training in sedation.
Pediatric Office Screening
Oral examination may be more difficult in a child with special health care needs. The primary care physician should make increased efforts to complete the examination checklist
. Early referral to a dental professional comfortable treating children with special health care needs (typically a pediatric dentist) will help to ensure the oral examination is complete and that all issues are addressed.