Performing dental work on a child is challenging since they are often anxious about the procedure. In order for them to be relaxed enough for the dentist to do the work, some form of sedation may be necessary. When you bring your child in for an appointment, a dentist such as Robert W Fornalczyk DDS wants them to be as comfortable as possible. The following forms of sedation are available to help your child get through the procedure.
This is a gas given to your child through a mask they wear over their nose. This is considered a mild sedation as it relaxes them but they are still conscious. The gas also has a mild pain relief effect. The gas is not addictive, and once stopped, it leaves the child's body completely.
Children with high anxiety levels, or those with special needs, may be given a sedative that will allow them to stay conscious even though they may fall asleep. It can be administered to produce a range of sedation from mild to deep. For mild to moderate sedation, the child will be given a pill or liquid. It will reduce their fear and anxiety during the procedure and make them drowsy. Deep sedation of this type is given through an IV and cause the child to sleep. When they awake, they will remember nothing about the procedure.
In rare cases, a general anesthesia will be recommended for a child that is extremely agitated or needs to be physically restrained to do the dental work. This will be done in a hospital or clinic with staff that can safely administer the anesthetic and monitor the child. This is the same anesthetic used in hospitals for surgery so an overnight stay may be necessary to make sure the child has fully recovered from this type of sedation.
Monitoring Your Child Under Sedation
With all sedation techniques, the child will be monitored during the procedure. Their respiration, heart rate, blood pressure and temperature will be monitored and recorded. The staff will watch your child's breathing rhythms carefully to make sure that the sedation has not affected the breathing.
Once the procedure is finished, the staff will watch your child until their vital signs return to normal. They will then be released to you with instructions on how to continue monitoring your child for any sedation side effects. If the work was done as an outpatient, the child should be taken directly home and made to rest the remainder of the day. Don't allow the child to go back to school on the same day as the dental procedure.
Sedation is available in many forms for your child, should they need help relaxing for a dental appointment. Make sure you understand all risks and what you need to watch for when your child goes home after sedation.