Oral Conscious Sedation
Smile Sonrisa Dental & Orthodontics understands that every child has unique needs for achieving optimal comfort and relaxation in the dental chair, so we employ a wide range of behavior management techniques, anesthetics, and sedation methods to help your child relax. Some children need only local anesthesia to tolerate dental treatment, and others may require the addition of laughing gas to reduce anxiety. Others, however, may need oral conscious sedation because they are more fearful or face physical or mental challenges. We can administer oral conscious sedation during all types of procedures, even when performing a simple dental exam or cleaning children’s teeth.
Achieving conscious sedation
Sedatives work by making the nervous system less responsive to external stimuli. Your child will still be awake and aware of his or her surroundings, but the sights, sounds, and smells of dental treatments and materials will not trigger a fearful response. A sedative also helps reduce the child’s sense of pain, although we will still numb the treatment area with a local anesthetic. Taking your child’s age, weight, health, and anxiety levels into consideration, our dentist will choose the safest type and level of medication and administer it orally before the procedure. Your child will become drowsy and may even fall asleep, but he or she is not entirely “under” as with general anesthesia and can be awakened easily. When the procedure is over, your child will remember little to nothing about the experience. Safety is our top concern, so our highly qualified dentists will monitor your child’s breathing, heart rate, and oxygen levels throughout the procedure. If we detect any adverse reactions, we have medications on hand to immediately reverse the effects of the sedative.
The day of the appointment
Do not let your child eat or drink anything 10 hours before the appointment, as taking anything by mouth increases the risk of nausea and vomiting during the procedure. You should also take your child to the bathroom before your dentist administers the medication. It could take between 15 to 25 minutes for the sedative to take effect, and you should keep your child close during this time as injuries could occur if they try to walk or run around. Once your child is fully relaxed, we will administer laughing gas and local anesthesia as necessary and begin the treatment process.
Instructions following the sedation appointment
We will ask you to remain at our clinic for a short time after the procedure is finished for observation and give you a detailed list of post-sedation instructions. Your child will be drowsy and have trouble walking after the appointment, so you may want to bring another adult along with you to help your child into the car. Because of the effects of the medication linger for several hours, you will need to monitor your child at home too to prevent accidental falls. If your child wishes to sleep, a side-sleeping position with the chin-up is ideal. The effects of the local anesthesia take some time to wear off, so observe your child and make sure that he or she does not bite or chew the lips and cheeks while still numb. Our office will call you later in the day to check on your child, but do not hesitate to contact us sooner if you have any questions or concerns.