Are Dental Sedation Methods Safe For Small Children?

In cases where a child is particularly fearful about a dental procedure, is uncooperative or is unable to sit still, dental sedation or anesthesia may be recommended. There are three options available for dental sedation or anesthesia:

Safety Of Dental Sedation For Children

  • Conscious sedation: Your child will remain awake. Conscious sedation can be achieved through the inhalation of nitrous oxide (laughing gas), orally in liquid or pill form or through a combination of these. Most children will simply feel more relaxed and a little drowsy.
  • Deep sedation: Your child will be asleep with some movement. Deep sedation is achieved through sedation with anesthetic vapor followed by IV placement. Medication is administered in incremental doses through IV sedation.
  • General anesthesia: Your child will be asleep with no movement or vocalization. General anesthesia is achieved through inhalation of anesthetic vapor through an endotracheal (breathing) tube followed by IV medication.

Dental sedation or anesthesia allows children to feel less anxious or uncomfortable during a dental procedure. Dental sedation is one of the most common practices within pediatric dentistry. If your dentist has recommended sedation for your child, you may have questions and concerns. This is good and will benefit your child moving forward. One of the first questions at the forefront of any parent’s mind is: “Is this safe for my child”?

Are dental sedation methods safe for small children?

Under a trained dentist, dental sedation is safe and effective for children. Dentist anesthesiologists undergo three years of specialized training to administer deep sedation and general anesthesia.

Indeed, dental sedation has a great track record in terms of safety. Your child’s health and level of consciousness will be monitored very closely during sedation, including their respiratory rate, heart rate and blood pressure. However, it is important for parents to take the following measures into account prior to their child undergoing dental sedation, as well as after, including:

  1. If you child happens to have a fever, ear infection, nasal/chest congestion or has experienced recent head trauma, you should notify your dentist of any conditions your child may have prior to undergoing dental sedation.
  2. Notify your dentist of all medications your child is taking, including herbal medications. It is also important to contact your dentist in the days leading up to your child’s dental sedation to determine if they are safe and appropriate to take alongside a dental sedation procedure.
  3. Your child should not eat or drink anything in the hours leading up to his or her procedure. Contact your dentist for specific details.
  4. Dress your child in loose, comfortable clothes so that their his or her health can be easily monitored during the procedure.

Follow your dentist’s post-operative instructions carefully. In general, children should limit their activities for the remaining part of the day. Parents should also monitor their child’s breathing very closely until they have fully recovered from the sedation or anesthesia.

For more information on whether dental sedation or anaesthesia is the best choice for your child, contact Smile Town today.