As with adults, dental sedation is a very safe procedure for children. Here’s a little about how it works, and some details about safety precautions parents can take to make the process go more smoothly.
Why is my dentist recommending sedation for my child?
You child's dentist may recommend sedation if they are going to undergo long, complex procedures, or for patients who are especially nervous or young.
Dental sedation can also allow children with special needs to get the dental treatment they need, treatment that might otherwise be extremely stressful or even impossible.
Types of Sedation for Children
Types of dental sedation most commonly used for children are the same as those used for adults: nitrous oxide, oral sedation, and intravenous sedation.
Nitrous oxide, often called laughing gas, helps children remain calm during dental treatment. It is delivered via a mask, and within a few minutes, the patient begins to feel relaxed and experience euphoric feelings. Once the procedure is complete, pure oxygen is given to the patient to clear out any remaining nitrous oxide.
Oral sedation is taken either through the nose or by mouth when the patient arrives for their appointment and will take up to 20 minutes to begin working. Oral sedation won't put the young patient to sleep, it just helps them relax.
Intravenous sedation is delivered through a needle inserted into the patient's vein. Nitrous oxide first sends the child to sleep before a needle is inserted, usually into a vein on the back of the hand. A tube will also be inserted into the patient's throat to aid breathing.
Safety Precautions for Children’s Dental Sedation
Your child is likely to tolerate sedation dental procedures best if you understand what is happening and prepare your child ahead of time.
Your child's dentist at ProActive Dental Studio will provide you with detailed instructions on how to prepare your child ahead of the appointment, and will be happy to answer all your questions.
Instructions on how to restrict your child's food and drink before the sedation appointment will be a part of the information provided to you by the dentist.
It's helpful to dress your child in loose-fitting clothing which will allow dental assistants to attach monitors quickly and easily.
You will be asked to provide a full medical history for your child, and tell the dentist if the child is receiving any prescriptions, over-the-counter medication or herbal supplements.
At ProActive Dental Studio, ensuring the patient's safety is paramount during dental sedation. While sedated, you child's blood pressure, blood oxygen level, heart rate and temperature will be closely monitored.
Be sure that two adults are available to drive your child or teen home following their dental sedation appointment — one to drive, and the other to monitor your child's breathing. Returning to school or daycare on the day of the appointment is definitely not an option since some of the longer-lasting aftereffects of sedation include loss of physical coordination, dizziness, sleepiness and nausea.
Following the procedure, parents should give the child only soft foods for the first few hours. When the mouth has healed, your child may continue caring for his teeth as normal.