Sedation & Pediatric Dentistry

At Vineyard Orthopedo we use sedation dentistry as a mild sedative to manage pain and anxiety during dental procedures.

Vineyard Pediatric invites parents and guardians to join us in helping our patients undergo a safe and successful dental experience. Parents and guardians are encouraged to take part in sedating their children during dental treatment under general anesthesia. Sedation allows the patient to remain calm and relaxed while undergoing treatment. This helps reduce anxiety and fear, making it easier for the dentist to perform the necessary treatments safely.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatric dentists offer sedation to children ages 3 to 12 every six months. Sedation is often administered by a specially trained dentist who is certified by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA).

Parents and guardians must understand that sedation is used to make sure that the child is comfortable throughout the entire dental appointment. They do not provide pain relief. Also, sedation does not prevent the child from feeling discomfort during the procedure. In fact, some medications can cause nausea and vomiting. If this occurs, parents/guardians should notify the dentist immediately.

Parents/Guardians are asked to sign a consent form prior to the administration of any sedative medications. A copy of the signed form will be kept on file at the office.

If you have questions regarding this topic, please contact the our office.

Fast Facts About Sedation Dentistry

There are many types of sedation used during dental procedures.

They include nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, IV sedation, general anesthesia, and local anesthesia. Nitrous oxide is commonly known as laughing gas. Oral conscious sedation is where you take medicine orally. IV sedation involves giving your child medicine intravenously.

General anesthesia requires putting your child under general anesthesia.

Local anesthesia uses numbing medicine applied directly to the area being treated.

Some common side effects of sedation dentistry include vomiting, nausea, dizziness, headache, drowsiness, dry mouth, and confusion.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is the administration of a mild sedative to help children cope with dental procedures. This allows the dentist to complete multiple treatments without interruption. A child may feel relaxed and comfortable during his or her appointment.

The medications are given intravenously, orally, or rectally. They work quickly and do not affect breathing.

Types of Sedation

Nitrous oxide is often referred to as laughing gas because it makes you laugh – and it does the same thing for children. Nitrous oxide relaxes muscles and reduces anxiety, making it a good choice for kids undergoing dental work.

The sedation is given via a special breathing mask that delivers oxygen and nitrous oxide into your child’s lungs. Your child will feel lightheaded, but he won’t lose consciousness. He’ll be able to see what’s happening around him and hear people talking, but he won’t be able to respond.

Your child will probably fall asleep within five minutes. Once the sedation wears off, he’ll wake up and go home.

An oral conscious sedation procedure is performed in an office setting. The medication is administered by a specially trained dentist who monitors your child throughout the entire process. Your child will feel relaxed and comfortable during this treatment. He will be awake and alert, but he won’t remember anything about the experience.

Home Preparation

1. Eat no less than 2 hours prior to the procedure.

2. Avoid foods containing caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, chocolate, citrus fruits, tomatoes, garlic and onions.

3. Do NOT eat or drink anything after 4 hours of the procedure.

4. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.

5. If your child needs sedation, he/she must follow our standard home preparation instructions and the following additional instructions.

6. DO NOT give your child any food or drinks, including liquids like juice, milk, soda, coffee, tea, etc., except what we provide here.

Getting Drowsy

The most common types of sedation are oral conscious sedation, IV sedation, and general anesthesia. Oral conscious sedation involves giving your child a pill to make him or her sleepy. An IV sedative works faster and allows your child to remain awake during the entire procedure. General anesthesia puts your child under total sleep and makes it impossible for him or her to feel pain.

Sedation medications may be administered orally, nasally, or intravenously.

At Home Care and Follow-Up Visits

A toothache is one of the most common reasons children seek emergency care.

Dental problems are responsible for nearly 30% of visits to pediatricians, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. And while many kids recover quickly without any treatment, others require specialized procedures like root canal therapy or extraction. If your child needs a procedure requiring general anesthesia, you’ll want to know what to expect at home after the procedure. Here’s how to prepare your child for his or her recovery period.

1. Plan ahead. Make sure you have all the supplies you need before going in for the procedure.
2. Keep track of symptoms. Write down when your child first notices discomfort and when he or she wakes up from the procedure.
3. Take photos. You can use these as reminders of what happened and help with future dental appointments.
4. Talk about it. Tell your child that everything went well and that he or she will probably feel soreness and tenderness for several days.
5. Encourage healthy habits. Remind your child to brush twice daily and floss once a day.
6. Don’t forget to ask questions. Your dentist should answer any questions you have about the procedure.
7. Be patient. It takes time for teeth to heal.
8. Avoid overuse of antibiotics. Antibiotics don’t work against viruses and won’t treat an infection caused by bacteria.
9. Watch out for signs of dehydration. Dehydration can cause dry mouth and lead to other health issues.
10. Get plenty of rest.
11. Eat soft foods.
12. Drink lots of water.
13. Rinse your mouth with saltwater.
14. Brush gently.
15. Use cold compresses on painful areas.
16. Call your doctor if pain persists.
17. Do not give aspirin or ibuprofen to relieve pain.
18. Expect some swelling, bleeding and sensitivity.

When to Call the Dentist

If your child’s gums are sore, it could be a sign of an infection. You should take him or her to see a pediatrician immediately. Your doctor might prescribe antibiotics. However, if your child is experiencing one of the symptoms listed above, he or she needs to see a dentist soon. These signs can indicate a much more serious problem.

The American Dental Association recommends calling your dental provider if your child has any of the following symptoms for more than 24 hours:

  •  fever
  • extreme thirst
  • excessive drooling
  • redness around eyes
  • swollen glands
  • inability to sleep
  • painful chewing
  • unusual behavior or mood changes
  • unexplained weight loss
  • vomiting
  • excessive bleeding

    Call 911 if your child has any life-threatening symptoms such as:

  • difficulty breathing
  • convulsions
  • unconsciousness