Pediatric Sedation

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Pediatric Sedation

Our goal at GoSmiles Dentistry is to help you and your child get the most gentle, effective and comfortable dental care possible. For this reason, our dentists may recommend pediatric sedation in Gainesville, Virginia. If you want more information on what sedation treatments are offered at our office, please call at your soonest convenience.

Nitrous Oxide

To help children feel more at ease, sometimes we administer nitrous oxide sedation, also known as laughing gas. Laughing gas combines two gases, nitrous oxide and oxygen, through a breathing mask placed over the nose and mouth. This medication allows the patient to feel relaxed without “knocking them out.” It is both safe and effective, non-addictive and the results quickly wear off after the appointment. Your child will remain awake throughout the treatment without feeling discomfort or anxiety.

Prior to your child’s appointment:

  • Inform our dentists about any recent health changes.
  • Let us know if you child has any respiratory conditions; these can make the gas less effective.
  • Inform GoSmiles Dentistry about any medications your child takes, especially on the day of their procedure.

Conscious Sedation

We often use conscious sedation for very young patients, patients with special needs or children who are especially anxious about an upcoming procedure. This medication reduces anxiety and discomfort and you child may become drowsy. While your child may relax and fall asleep, the medication does not cause unconsciousness.

Your dentists may prescribe one of several different medications for your child’s conscious sedation treatment. When prescribing, our dentists will take your child’s current needs as well as their health history into account. If you have any questions about the prescription drugs we recommend, call or ask our dentists.

Prior to your child’s appointment:

  • If your child becomes ill with a cold, fever or ear infection, do not bring them in for their appointment. Our office can help you reschedule your child’s appointment if there are any changes in their health.
  • Let our office know about any current medications your child is taking.
  • Make sure your child is dressed comfortably in loose-fitting clothing.
  • Have your child use the restroom immediately before arriving for their appointment.
  • Do not have your child eat any solid food for six hours before the appointment, and only have them drink clear liquids for the preceding four hours.
  • A legal guardian or parent must be in the office waiting room throughout the entire appointment.
  • Monitor your child and keep them still as the medication is taking effect.
  • As the medication takes effect, the patient may become temporarily excited and then drowsy.

After the sedation appointment:

  • Monitor your child closely, as they may still be drowsy and risk injury.
  • If your child falls asleep, elevate their chin and have them lay on their side. To prevent dehydration, wake them up each hour and give them sips of clear liquids. Make sure that they have a light first meal.
  • If your child starts to vomit, keep their airways clear by having them turn their head and bend over.
  • In addition to oral sedation, our dentists will also administer a local anesthetic that will numb the lips, cheeks and tongue. Keep an eye on your child to make sure they are not chewing their lips, scratching their cheeks or injuring other areas of their mouth and face.
  • Contact our office at 703-753-3346 if you have any questions.

IV Sedation

IV sedation is a good alternative to oral sedation that works for many young patients with special needs or dental anxiety. This is administered in-office by an anesthesiologist who will monitor your child throughout the treatment.

Prior to your child’s appointment:

  • Let us know about any health or medical changes in your child. Reschedule if your child has a cold, fever or ear infection on the day of their IV treatment.
  • Let us know about any drug allergies and any current medications your child takes.
  • Have your child wear loose, comfortable clothes.
  • Have your child visit the restroom right before their appointment.
  • Do not give your child milk or solid food after midnight the night before their appointment. Only have them drink clear liquids in the six hours preceding their appointment.
  • Stay in the office throughout the appointment. A parent or legal guardian must be present in the office for the entire procedure.

After the sedation appointment:

  • Keep an eye on your child, since they still may feel drowsy and clumsy.
  • Sleeping children should be kept on their sides with their chin raised. Keep them hydrated and wake your child hourly to give them clear liquids. Do not feed them heavy or rich foods for their first meal after their appointment.
  • Keep your child’s head turned to the side and bend them over if they start vomiting.
  • Phone our office with any questions you may have.

Outpatient General Anesthesia

If a child is not recommended for conscious or IV sedation, outpatient general anesthesia may be another option for the patient. This treatment renders patients unconscious, in the same way they would go under for a regular hospital procedure. The anesthesia is administered in a hospital or outpatient facility. While there is more risk associated with this sedation, it will only be recommended when the benefits significantly outweigh the possible negative effects. The possibility of risk is anywhere from 1 in 25,000 to 1 in 200,000 — small when compared even with the everyday risk of riding in a car. However, possible negative effects of not having outpatient anesthesia are physical restraints or emotional distress to your child. If no dental treatment is administered, your child can be at risk for dental pain, infection, swelling, damage to the adult teeth, advanced tooth decay and even hospitalization.

Prior to your child’s appointment:

  • Notify our dentists about any changes you notice in your child’s health and do not bring them in if they are ill with a cold, fever or ear infection. Our office will be willing to help you plan another time for an appointment.
  • Let us know if there are any changes in your child’s medical history, such as a change in their medications.
  • Have them come to the office dressed in comfortable, loose clothes.
  • Monitor their food intake and make sure they do not have anything but clear liquids in the six hours before their appointment. Also, make sure that they do not drink milk or eat solid foods after midnight the evening before their appointment.

Do not leave while your child is undergoing their sedation treatment. We ask that a parent or legal guardian wait in the hospital room or surgical site waiting area.

After the appointment:

  • Your child will still feel the effects of the anesthetic and may be drowsy. Keep a close eye on your child to make sure they don’t accidentally harm themselves.
  • Children may want to sleep after their general anesthetic procedure. If they do fall asleep, keep them on their sides with their child elevated. Have them wake up each hour to take a drink of a clear liquid in order to prevent dehydration and nausea. Keep their first meal restricted to light, easy-to-digest foods.
  • In case of vomiting, keep their mouth and airways clear. Have them bend over and keep their head turned away to the side.
  • Get a “Post-Op Instructions” list and emergency number before leaving the hospital or outpatient facility.

Care of the Mouth After Local Anesthetic

  • Depending on the procedure site, different areas will be affected by the anesthetic. In the upper jaw, the teeth, lips and surrounding facial areas will be numb; in the lower jaw, the tongue may also be affected.
  • Children may not understand anesthesia’s effects. Keep them from chewing or scratching these numbed areas to prevent swelling or abrasions.
  • Keep an eye on your child in the two hours after the appointment and only have them eat soft foods or liquids until the anesthetic wears off.

Phone our office if you have any questions about the appointment.

Care of the Mouth After Trauma

  • Keep the site clean. If possible, use a soft washcloth to clean the area.
  • Watch for signs of a dying nerve or injured dental pulp; usually this appears as a darkening or change in color of the tooth.
  • If you notice the swelling go down, then up again, come in as soon as possible for treatment. Parents can apply ice to the area to keep down swelling.
  • Symptoms of infection, such as boils in the soft tissue, need to be treated by our office as quickly as possible.
  • Have your child stick to a soft-food diet for a few days until their symptoms alleviate.
  • Keep your child away from foods that are too hot or too cold.
  • Follow all directions for antibiotics or pain medication.

If you have any questions, reach out and call our office.

Care of the Mouth After Extractions

  • Make sure your child does not bite, chew or scratch at their cheeks, tongue or lips. These areas will still be numbed from the procedure and can be accidentally injured.
  • Do not have your child rinse out their mouth or spit excessively.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks and sodas.
  • Do not have your child drink through a straw.
  • Have your child avoid touching the extraction site with their tongue or fingers.
  • Give your child soft, easy-to-chew foods for the first few days after their appointment.
  • Keep your child from participating in athletic or physical activity.

Bleeding — Bleeding at the source of the extraction is normal, but if it continues, place a piece of gauze or tea bag over the site and have your child bite or hold it in place for 15 minutes.

Pain — Parents can give their child Children’s Advil®, MOTRIN®, TYLENOL® or prescribed pain medication by carefully following all written instructions.

For any questions parents may have, we invite them to call our office today.

Care of Sealants

Sealants cover the natural fissures and fit on the biting surface of the tooth. This is where food debris and bacteria can get caught and cause plaque and cavities. Though brushing and flossing is still important, sealants can help prevent tooth decay.

To help take care of the treatment area, children should avoid chewing on ice or hard candy. We also recommend that your child regularly visits our office for checkups.

Sealants can significantly the protect teeth from decay. When maintained properly, they can last for years. We recommend a total prevention program including regular exams, cleanings, fluoride treatments, daily brushing and flossing, and limiting foods with high amounts of sugar. By following this plan, we can eliminate or reduce your child’s risk of decay.

Oral Discomfort After a Cleaning

A thorough dental cleaning can sometimes cause tenderness in inflamed or diseased gum tissue. To relieve discomfort, we recommend the following:

  1. Rinse with a saltwater mixture two or three times a day. (You can make a saltwater rinse by adding one teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water.)
  2. Parents can also give their children Children’s TYLENOL, Advil or MOTRIN.

Contact our practice if your child experiences symptoms for longer than a week.