Is it safe to sedate kids for dental surgery?

Dental treatment is necessary to treat kids with dental pain or infection regardless of the age of the child. Dental problems and tooth decay are all the more common nowadays with the prevalence of sugary and fast-food diets.

Children often find it hard to keep still and remain calm during the dental procedure. Even if the children are at an age where they understand the proceedings and stay calm, dental surgery will require sedation as the process may be painful.

Parental guidance is also necessary to guide the child to remain calm during the dental procedure. A dental procedure will be stressful for both the parent and the child. The safety of the kids is paramount to any parent when their child has to undergo dental surgery.

Regional sedation may be sufficient for most dental procedures. Although general anesthesia will be a requirement in some conditions such as extensive dental surgery or if the kid is too small to understand and remain calm.

According to a study by the University of Washington in 2013, 44 children predominantly between the ages of 2 and 5 die after general anesthesia or sedation for dental surgery in the last three decades.

Past incidences of adverse effects of the child due to anesthesia make parents cautious about getting the sedation for kids. The child may slip into a deeper level of sedation in rare cases and will require a quick response by the medical staff to avoid further complications.

If you are anxious about the administration of sedation for the dental surgery of your child, you have come to the right article. This article will help you understand if it is safe to sedate kids for dental surgery.

Is it safe to sedate kids for dental surgery?

Having a dentist and a professional anesthesiologist in the room with the child is a requirement. The medical professionals need to keep a watchful eye when administering anesthesia and undergoing treatment until the child is back from sedation.

Sedation dentistry is the utilization of mild sedatives to alleviate the mood of the child and reduces anxiety during dental procedures. Sedation is also mandatory when your child needs to undergo several dental procedures in a single surgery.

If your child has a firm gag reflex, then they will need to take sedation for safely undergoing the dental procedure. However, sedation does not alleviate pain or physical discomfort during or after the procedure.

The dentist will further administer local anesthetic near the place where the dental procedure is about to happen to prevent any pain during and after the procedure. The delivery of the local anesthetic is usually in the form of injection near the area of the dental procedure.

It is desirable to consult with the dentist and discuss matters regarding sedation beforehand to reduce the anxiety of the parent. You can also get to know about the type of sedation that the dentist recommends and its safety.

Dentist treating a kid

How can you ensure the safety of your child during dental procedure?

Parents need to restrict the food and drink consumption by their child from the night before the dental procedure. Parents need to follow these instructions religiously as anesthesia and sedation can make your child vomit and inhale the vomit in their lungs.

Dressing the child in loose-fitting clothes also aids the physicians in easily attaching monitors and observing the child during sedation. The parents must also be providing the full medical history of the child along with the information on any over the counter supplements or herbal products.

You can also consider bringing along their favorite toy or doll of your child to make them calm. Talking to the child, holding the hand of your child and singing softly during the procedure can help your child to remain calm throughout the process.

During sedation, the anesthesia technician and the dentist need to monitor your child to ensure safety continuously. Your child may feel fuzzy and nauseous after the procedure due to the effects of sedation. Parents should ensure to feed only soft foods to their child after the dental procedure until the effects of sedation wear off.

Types Of Sedation

1. Nitrous Oxide

The nitrous oxide or laughing gas is in use regularly as a form of sedation for decades. This form of sedation is still in use for dental procedures, and it is very mild and safe and will aid to relax your child during the procedure.

The administration of sedation is usually through inhalation through a gas mask which will deliver a mixture of oxygen along with nitrous oxide in a stable ratio. The dentist puts the mask on the face of the child and asks the child to inhale the sweet-smelling gas through the nose.

The sedation will become effective within 5 minutes of inhaling the gas. Your child will feel happy and be awake during the entire procedure. After the completion of the process, the nitrous oxide supply is cut short. Only the supply of oxygen goes on for another 5 minutes to eliminate the residual nitrous oxide.

2. Oral Sedation

Oral sedation is useful if your child is feeling nervous. Administration of oral sedation is commonly through the nose or mouth. This type of sedation will make your child feel drowsy, but they will still be awake and able to comply with instructions from the dentist.

The sedation usually takes around 20 minutes to take effect. The child should not have any food or drink from midnight before the dental procedure.

3. IV Sedation

Intravenous sedation requires the insertion of a needle into the veins of the arms or legs of the child. The dentist can control the supply of the sedation consistently and can maintain the effects of sedation longer for lengthier procedures.

Conclusion

However, sedation is necessary and extremely safe with careful administration and meticulous observation by the anesthesia technicians. The guidelines from the American Academy of Paediatric Dentistry states that following specific protocols is necessary for sedation to be safe.

The ultimate goal of sedation is to provide safe and pain-free treatment for patients. Ensure the dentist has ACLS certification before starting with the treatment to ensure the safety of your child during sedation.

If your child is overly fearful of dental procedures or surgery, then sedation will be a requirement to carry out the process safely. Although there may be certain restrictions to when your child can go back home.