Dental sedation is perfectly safe for children. Here’s how it works, and a few details about safety precautions parents can take to make the process go more smoothly.
Why is my dentist recommending sedation for my child?
Dentists often recommend sedation for children if they're going to undergo long, complex procedures, if they are extremely young, or especially nervous about visiting the dentist.
In addition, dental sedation can be beneficial for children with special needs, because it can help them get the dental treatment they need, treatment that might otherwise be extremely stressful or even impossible.
Types of Sedation for Children
The types of sedation most commonly used for children are the same as the ones 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 the appointment. The medicine usually takes about 20 minutes to take effect. Oral sedation doesn't make patients fall asleep, it just helps them to relax and feel calm.
Nitrous oxide, sometimes known as laughing gas, can also help 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. At the end of the procedure, pure oxygen is administered to the patient to clear out any remaining nitrous oxide.
Intravenous sedation is delivered via a needle. Nitrous oxide will put the child to sleep before a needle is inserted, usually into a vein on the back of the hand. A tube is also inserted into the patient's throat to aid breathing.
Safety Precautions for Children’s Dental Sedation
Children whose parents understand what is happening and who prepare the child ahead of time tend to have a more positive dental sedation experience.
Your Hanin Dental Surrey dental professionals will give you detailed instructions on how to prepare your child ahead of the appointment, and will be happy to answer all your questions.
Instructions will include things such as when your child should stop eating ahead of the appointment, and what type of clothing should be worn for the appointment.
You will also be asked to provide a full medical history for your child, and tell the dentist if they are receiving any prescriptions, over-the-counter medication or herbal supplements.
Ensuring patients' safety is paramount for our Hanin dentists during dental sedation. Throughout the procedure, the patient's blood pressure, blood oxygen level, heart rate and temperature will all be closely monitored.
Two adults should accompany the child or teen home after the appointment — one to drive, and the other to monitor the patient's breathing. Since some of the longer-lasting after-effects of sedation include loss of physical coordination, sleepiness, dizziness, and nausea, going back to school or daycare on the day of the appointment is not an option.
For the first few hours after the procedure, parents should give the child only soft foods. When the mouth has healed, the child may continue caring for his teeth as normal.