What is oral sedation?
Oral conscious sedation is a behavior management technique that uses medication to help calm an extremely nervous or anxious child. The medication is usually given in a liquid/syrup that your child will drink prior to treatment. Conscious sedation is helpful in children who have a high level of anxiety or are very young and they don't respond to other behavior management techniques.
Is oral sedation safe?
Oral sedation is very safe. Prior to administering the sedation your child's medical history will be reviewed. The dosage is based on your child's weight with a high margin of safety. Your child's vital signs will be monitored during treatment. The potential side effects and post sedation care will be discussed.
What medications are used?
There different medications that are used, each with different advantages and uses. The pediatric dentist will discuss what options are best suited for your child and their treatment.
How effective is oral sedation?
Oral sedation can be very effective. Along with the oral medication, nitrous oxide is also administered to enhance the effects. It also has a mild amnesic effect so your child may not remember their visit. Unfortunately, oral sedation does not work on every child. Extremely apprehensive or hysterical children may require IV sedation or general anesthesia to complete treatment in a safe and no traumatic manner.
What do I need to do before the appointment to prepare my child?
If your child is scheduled for oral sedation they will need to come to the appointment on an empty stomach. No food or dairy for at least 4 hours prior. No water or clear liquids for 2 hours prior. Your pediatric dentist will discuss if they prefer a longer fasting period. If your child is sick, congested, or has a fever it is best to call and reschedule the appointment.
What should I be careful of after the appointment?
Your child will only be dismissed from the office when the pediatric dentist feels they are ready. Afterwards, they may be drowsy for a few hours. Your child will not be able to go to school after and should remain indoors limiting physical activity. Watching a movie or reading is perfect. If your child wants to sleep it is perfectly safe. They should be supervised for the next 2-3 hours to avoid injury. Your child will likely also be numb from any dental treatment, so the appropriate post op instructions should be followed. Most children are back to normal in 3-4 hours.