Children can benefit from sedation dentistry if they have one or more of the following:
- Young age
- First time for dental treatment
- Fear/anxiety of the dentist and dental treatment
- Need for extensive dental treatment
- Past traumatic dental experience
- Fear of being numbed
- Trouble getting numb
- Sensitive teeth
The two most common types of sedation dentistry are:
- Inhalation sedation
- Oral mild/moderate sedation
If a child has treatment with sedation, in order to make sure he or she is comfortable, local anesthesia is used. This means that the patient will be numbed inside of the mouth even if he or she is sedated.
We understand the thought of injections can be scary to our patients, so Dr. Clark or Dr. Wong will administer your child’s oral medication. The Compudent is a computerized machine that distributes the local anesthesia at a slow rate, which decreases the discomfort for the patient.
Some boys and girls become highly apprehensive even at the sight of needles or a syringe. The Wand, which is the actual handpiece, has a very non-threatening appearance and does not look like a traditional syringe.
Some children are given nitrous oxide/oxygen, or what you may know as “laughing gas,” to relax them for their dental treatment. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases: oxygen and nitrous oxide.
Nitrous oxide/oxygen is given through a small breathing mask which is placed over the child’s nose, allowing her or him to relax, but without putting the patient to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, recognizes this technique as a very safe, effective way to treat children’s dental needs.
The gas is mild and easily taken. With normal breathing, it is quickly eliminated from the body. It is non-addictive. While inhaling nitrous oxide/oxygen, your child remains fully conscious and keeps all natural reflexes. Your son or daughter will also have injections (sleepy juice) to numb the teeth for treatment.
Prior to your child’s appointment with nitrous oxide
Please inform us of any change to your youngster’s health and/or medical condition.
Tell us about any respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult for your little one; it may limit the effectiveness of the nitrous oxide/oxygen.
Let us know if your child is taking any medication on the day of the appointment. If he or she uses an inhaler for asthma (either daily or as needed) please bring it to the dental appointment. Our office is equipped with an up-to-date emergency drug kit that has an inhaler, but some children do better with one they are familiar with if it is needed.
Please do not allow your youngster to eat or drink two hours prior to the appointment, because the nitrous oxide/oxygen may upset his or her stomach and result in vomiting.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral conscious sedation is mild sedation taken orally, and recommended for apprehensive children and very young children, as well as some children with special needs. It is used to calm your child and to reduce the anxiety or discomfort associated with dental treatments.
Your son or daughter’s pre-operative vital signs are taken before the sedation medication is given. The oral liquid sedation medication is administered in the office by Dr. Clark or Dr. Wong. A pulse oximeter and blood pressure monitor is kept on the patient throughout the dental treatment, along with a pre-trachial stethascope.
The effect of the sedation is to produce a profound relaxation to facilitate a more pleasant dental experience. Your child may be drowsy, and may even fall asleep (similar to taking a nap), but will not become unconscious. He or she will keep all natural reflexes.
Even with conscious sedation, your child may still fuss during treatment. It is difficult to predict accurately how a child may react to this light sedation. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is normally used in conjunction with oral mild sedation.
Even though your little one may be sedated, he or she will still receive anesthetic injections (sleepy juice) to numb the teeth for various procedures, including extractions, crowns, and/or pulpotomies. If your child’s treatment is limited to fillings alone, the patient may benefit from use of the hard-tissue laser, which would not require an injection to numb the treatment area.
It is important for your child’s safety that you follow these instructions carefully. Failure to follow these instructions could result in serious injury.
Pre-operative Conscious Sedation Instructions
- Do not give your child ANY medications before the appointment which may combine with the sedative without checking with one of the doctors first. Please be sure to inform the doctors of any medications your little one is taking BEFORE the appoinment day.
- If the child is on a regular medication, please inform the office when we confirm your appointment. If your son or daughter has an inhaler for asthma or asthma-like symptoms, please bring it to the appointment. Our office is equipped with a current emergency drug kit, but if the inhaler is needed, your child may do better with the one he or she is familiar with.
- No milk or solid food after midnight for all children. Water is allowable for:
- Children under the age of three years, up to four hours before treatment
- Children between ages three to six years, up to six hours before treatment
- Children ages six and older, up to eight hours before treatment
- Please dress your youngster in light, loose, and comfortable clothing (preferably not white) for the appointment. If your child is recently toilet trained, dress him or her in a diaper (or Pull-Up) in case of an accident.
- If prior to your appointment your child becomes ill (e.g., fever, upper respiratory infection, bronchitis, pneumonia, etc.), please contact our office to possibly reschedule your appointment. Your child needs to be healthy for 4 to 6 weeks prior to the sedation appoinment, depending on the illness.
- If your child has a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or toy, you are welcome to bring it to the appointment. There is also a television on the ceiling, so if your child has a favorite movie on DVD, we would be happy to play it. (We have many movies at the office.)
- A parent or guardian must bring your child to the office and be present in the reception room for the entire appointment. For your youngster’s safety, we may need to watch him or her for several minutes following the treatment to make sure the patient is alert and stable before dismissal from the office. It is recommended that you have a friend or family member accompany you to the office to assist you and your child following the completion of the appointment.
- A parent or guardian must be home with your child for the remainder of the day. Do not plan activities for your son or daughter, because the patient will feel the effects of the medication for six to eight hours following the appointment. Your little one should not go to school or daycare for the remainder of the day.
- Please plan ahead and have soft food and lots of liquid for your child following the appointment. Examples of soft foods are yogurt, Jell-o, pasta, soup, scrambled eggs, and cottage cheese.
Post-Operative Oral Mild / Moderate Sedation Instructions
- Your child needs to be watched for several hours (4+) following the sedation appointment. The effects of the medication may continue after discharge from the office and your little one may be drowsy. If he or she would like to sleep after you are home, please place the youngster on his or her side. It is vital that you keep your child awake in the car on the way home (and have him or her properly restrained).
- Do not allow your child to participate in activities where physical coordination or skill is involved, because reactions may be slowed: basically, no outside play following treatment. Your son or daughter may be disoriented or fussy from the medication and must be watched to avoid injury.
- Following the dental appointment, offer your child liquids, starting with a small amount of water. Once he or she is able to keep water down, then you may give other clear liquids (e.g., apple juice, white grape juice). It is important after the dental visit that your child be hydrated. Once the numbness wears off, then your little one may have soft foods (please refer to “pre-operative instructions”).
- Please make sure your child does not bite his or her tongue, lip, or cheek due to numbness.
- Occasionally a child can have a post-operative complication such as nausea, dizziness, or vomiting. If prolonged vomiting occurs, please contact our office.
- It is recommended for your child to be given an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory following the appointment. Since your son or daughter will have an empty stomach, Tylenol is better to administer at first. Please follow the directions according to the manufacturer, and time it to give your child medication right before bedtime.
- Please be aware that your child may be fussy following the treatment; this is one possible side effect of the medication.
- If your child seems to be having problems, please contact our office at 713-436-4080.