Oral Care Tips for Parents

How does Pediatric Sedation Dentistry Work?

Our pediatric dentists’ first consideration when it comes to a child receiving pediatric sedation dentistry is safety. Pediatric dentists recommend sedation for long, complex procedures especially for patients who are young or very nervous. Sedation is typically a very safe procedure.

Types of Pediatric Sedation Dentistry

The major types of sedation pediatric dentists provide are oral sedation, nitrous oxide and intravenous (IV) sedation.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation is given by mouth or through the nose as soon as the patient arrives at the appointment. The medicine may take up to 20 minutes to work. Patients are not put to sleep, but oral sedation helps them stay relaxed and calm.

Nitrous oxide aka Laughing Gas

Nitrous oxide, otherwise known as “laughing gas”, may also help children remain calm. A mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen is delivered through a mask. Within five minutes, the patient relaxes and experiences euphoric feelings. Pure oxygen is administered to the patient to clear out any remaining nitrous oxide at the end of the procedure.

Intravenous sedation (IV sedation)

Intravenous sedation (IV sedation) is delivered through a needle inserted into the patient’s vein. The child is given nitrous oxide before a needle is inserted, usually into a vein on the back of the child’s hand. A tube is also inserted into the patient’s throat to aid breathing.

Can my child eat before sedation dentistry?

When sedation is needed, there are important rules for eating and drinking that must be followed in the hours before the procedure. Parents must restrict food and drink before sedation. These guidelines must be followed closely for key safety reasons. Sedation may pose the risk of stomach contents being vomited and inhaled into the lungs.

The child should be dressed in loose-fitting clothing so we can attach monitors and your child will be more comfortable. One business day before your child’s procedure, you will receive a phone call from Anchorage Pediatric Dentistry. Calls are not made on weekends or holidays. Please have a pen and paper ready to write down these important instructions.

You will get specific eating and drinking instructions for your child based on your child’s age. No matter what age your child is, you should follow the specific instructions given to you on the phone. Before sedation begins, parents must also provide a full medical history and tell the pediatric dentist if the child is receiving any prescriptions or medications.

Is Sedation Dentistry Safe for Toddlers?

For pediatric dentists, ensuring the patient’s safety is the most important task during dental sedation. The patient’s blood oxygen level, blood pressure, temperature and heart rate are all closely monitored while they are sedated.

Sedation Dentistry Side Effects

At Anchorage Pediatric Dentistry, parents are usually asked to be present while their child wakes up after sedation. The child may feel nauseous or be fussy, this is completely normal. The first few hours after the procedure, parents should give the child only soft foods. Contact the pediatric dentist immediately if the child experiences vomiting, severe pain, severe bleeding or fever.

Dental sedation is a safe procedure with the right preparation and proper care. You will provide the best possible experience for your child by communicating clearly with your child’s pediatric dentist. At Anchorage Pediatric Dentistry, we will do our best to provide the best possible care for your child through kindness, education, and excellent treatment.

Dr Brant Darby DDS

Dr. J. Brant Darby graduated with honors from The Master’s College with a degree in Biology. He completed his dental training at the University of Nebraska College of Dentistry, followed by a pediatric dental residency at University of Nebraska Medical Center. He actively served as a dental officer in the United States Army for eight years.

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