Dental sedation is a very safe procedure for children. Here’s a little from our Surrey dentist 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?
Your dentist may recommend sedation for your child if they are going to undergo long, complex procedures, or for children 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 perhaps even impossible.
Types of Sedation for Children
The types of dental sedation that dentists most commonly use for children are the same as those used for adults: oral sedation, nitrous oxide and intravenous sedation.
Oral sedation is taken by mouth, or through the nose, when the patient arrives for their appointment. The medication takes up to 20 minutes to begin working. Oral sedation won't put your child to sleep, it just helps them relax.
Nitrous oxide, frequently called laughing gas, helps children remain calm during dental treatments. Nitrous oxide is delivered via a mask, and within a few minutes, the patient begins to experience euphoric feelings and relax. Following the procedure, pure oxygen is given to the patient in order to clear out any remaining nitrous oxide.
Intravenous sedation is delivered through a needle which is inserted into the child's vein. First nitrous oxide is used to send the child to sleep before a needle is inserted into a vein on the back of the child's hand. A tube is also inserted into the patient's throat to aid breathing.
Safety Precautions for Children’s Dental Sedation
Most children tolerate sedation dental procedures best if the parents understand what is happening and prepare the child ahead of time.
Your Surrey dentists at Clover Hills Dental will provide you with detailed instructions on how to prepare your child ahead of the appointment, and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
For example, your dentist will give you instructions on how to restrict food and drink before the sedation appointment.
It's also helpful to note that dressing your child in loose-fitting clothing will allow dental assistants to attach monitors quickly and minimal fuss.
When you arrive for the appointment 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 our Surrey dental office, ensuring the your child's safety is paramount during dental sedation. While sedated, the patient's blood pressure, blood oxygen level, heart rate and temperature will be monitored closely.
Two adults should accompany the child or teen home — one to drive, and the other to monitor the child's breathing. Some of the longer-lasting aftereffects of sedation include loss of physical coordination, dizziness, sleepiness and nausea, which means that going back to school or daycare on the day of the appointment is definitely not an option.
For the first few hours following the procedure, parents should give the child only soft foods. Once your child's mouth has healed, they may continue caring for their teeth as normal.