Children who are very young or who have a high level of anxiety that interferes with the cooperation necessary for the dentist to perform treatment may require some level of sedation. Sedation is also helpful for special needs children. There are many safe and effective ways to sedate your child. Listed below are three methods we use in our office.
Prior to any appointment–
1. Please inform us of any change to your child’s health and/or medical condition.
2. Please inform us of any medications your child is taking on a daily basis.
This information is extremely important to ensure we take any precautions necessary while your child is under our care.
Nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas”, is used to reduce anxiety during dental treatment. Nitrous oxide is given through a small breathing mask that is placed over the child’s nose. With normal breathing, the nitrous oxide enters the lungs and has a mild sedative effect. The child is still awake but pain and time perception are altered. Nitrous oxide is a very safe and effective technique to use for treating children’s dental needs. The gas is mild, non-allergenic, has a rapid onset, is reversible, and is quickly eliminated from the body. While inhaling nitrous oxide, the child remains fully conscious and keeps all natural reflexes.
Prior to your appointment:
- Please inform us of any change to your child’s health and/or medical condition. Please also advise us of any medications your child is taking the day of the appointment.
- Tell us about any respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult for your child. It may limit the effectiveness of the nitrous oxide/oxygen.
Conscious Oral Sedation
Conscious Sedation is recommended for apprehensive children, very young children, and children with special needs. It is used to calm your child and to reduce the anxiety or discomfort associated with dental treatments. Your child may be quite drowsy, and may even fall asleep, but they will not become unconscious.
There are a variety of different medications, which can be used for conscious sedation. The doctor will prescribe the medication best suited for your child’s overall health and dental treatment recommendations. We will be happy to answer any questions you might have concerning the specific drugs we plan to give to your child.
Prior to your appointment:
- Please notify us of any change in your child’s health and/or medical condition. Do not bring your child for treatment with a fever, ear infection or cold. Should your child become ill, contact us to see if it is necessary to postpone the appointment.
- You must tell the doctor of any drugs that your child is currently taking and any drug reactions and/or change in medical history.
- Please dress your child in loose fitting, comfortable clothing.
- Please make sure that your child goes to the bathroom immediately prior to arriving at the office.
- We ask you bring your child in to their appointment on an empty stomach; nothing to eat or drink past midnight the night before.
- The child’s parent or legal guardian must remain at the office during the complete procedure.
- Please watch your child closely while the medication is taking effect. Hold them in your lap or keep close to you. Do not let them “run around.”
- Fussiness, irritability and even hallucinations are some of the side effects that could occur once the medication has taken effect.
After your appointment:
- Please monitor your child’s behavior for the next 3-4 hours. Normal behavior during recovery may vary. Your child may be sleepy/groggy or he/she may be irritated/angry. In addition, if your child received VERSED visual disturbance (hallucinations) are a common side effect. The behavioral changes will diminish as the mediations wear off. If your child desires to sleep, please allow him/her to rest. It is very important to wake your child by 1:00 p.m. and keep him/her awake until his/her normal bedtime this evening. Keep activity to a level that does not require coordination. Absolutely no swimming, bike riding, skate boarding, roller skating, etc. for the remainder of the day. Resume usual activity tomorrow.
- Your child can consume a soft diet today such as spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, yogurt, etc. Your child also received a local anesthesia rendering his/her cheek, tongue and lips numb. Watch him/her to make sure he/she does not bite these areas. If these areas are bitten, no pain will be felt immediately due to numbness, but the pain and swelling will appear after the numbness wears off.
- For the safety of your child, we ask that you call our office at 2:00 p.m. to inform us of your child’s’ recovery status. We are available at all times to help your child have a positive experience. 281-341-7733
Occasionally with large amounts of treatment that need to be completed and a child with high anxiety, our doctors might discuss the option of IV sedation. The dentist performs the dental treatment in our office with the child anesthetized under IV sedation, which is administered and monitored by a board certified anesthesiologist. Before this appointment is scheduled we will go over all instructions to be followed prior to appointment and after treatment is completed.