Steps a Parent can take when a Child requires Dental Sedation

Child wearing blue dental mouth opener

Child getting teeth cleaned wearing dental mouth opener
A single unpleasant experience at the dental clinic can lead to series of fear pattern for a child. This unpleasant experience might be caused by the sight of dental instruments, unfamiliar people, the strange surroundings or a flash of pain. With time, this can lead to a severe dental fear and anxiety, and if ignored, it can further escalate into a real Dental Phobia: thus causing the patient some intense fear just at the thought of a visit to the dentist. Some kids have developed deep-rooted fear inside them that nothing can be as traumatizing as a dental appointment. Counseling and calming efforts will only have little, or no effect on these extremely nervous children and dental sedation could be the only answer.

If the child requires a lengthy dental procedure, the dentist will explain the available options and benefits of sedation to the parents and try to calm the child. However, if the child has physical ailments or allergies, the dentist must be informed; he must also be made aware if the child is under any medications. Lastly, if the child develops an elevated temperature, ear infection, or becomes ill, he should be promptly notified. This treatise discuss what parents should do to help reassure their child that needs dental sedation.

Ask About Sedation

The sedation method to be used and the dental procedure will be explained to the parent. Parents should not hesitate to ask questions. Sedation should only be done by certified professionals with specialized training. Parents should ensure they check the qualifications of their sedation dentist. You shouldn’t shy away from asking if the dentist has ‘advanced airway training’ because this is necessary to resuscitate the child, if necessary.

Parents should also ask about the type of sedation to be used. Possible questions about this include asking if:

An intramuscular sedative be used?

Will local anesthesia be given?

Will Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) be administered? Etc.

Parents should ensure they understand what lies ahead themselves so they can reassure their child and build their confidence before the commencement of the sedation process.

Observe the Dental Operatory

The parent and possibly the child might be encouraged by checking the room where the procedure will be carried out. Meeting the dental personnel before the procedure can greatly reduce the ‘strangeness’ of the office and this can be very helpful to the patient and his parents. During the check, questions about the available emergency equipment should be asked. This might include asking if:

Oxygen is at hand

Are there airways, masks and intubation equipment on hand?

Is suction equipment available?

Is there pressure monitoring equipment?

Are emergency drugs in pediatric dosages available?

Does the defibrillator have pediatric paddles (if available)?

Will there be dental personnel assigned to monitor the child post sedation and procedure?

A parent is not expected to be well versed in necessary equipment for handling an emergency situation, but there is absolutely nothing wrong in inquiring about the sedation expert or professional that will be handling the child. When parents are well informed, it surely has a calming effect on the child and, hopefully, helps reduce his anxiety.

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