Sedated for Dentistry

For many patients, visiting the dentist is an experience filled with anxiety and apprehension. They are usually worried about the pain and discomfort associated with the procedures. This is even more true in the case of children. Due to such stress, children generally fidget in the dental chair. This leaves room for injury during the procedure, to both the child as well as the dentist. To combat this, dentists came up with the solution of sedating patients before a procedure.

Sedatives come in the form of general anesthesia or local anesthesia. The former puts the patient completely to sleep while the latter numbs the adjoining region. For certain procedures, sedation dentistry may be crucial for certain children. Thus, this article will highlight some of the key points to remember before opting for sedation dentistry for children.

1. Chemical Procedure

To begin with, you should be aware of the different chemicals that are given during the procedure. Children are either given a liquid sedative or supplied with laughing gas through the respiratory system. This allows them to stay awake but makes them calmer. Such medicines are common and widely used anesthetics and are not known to cause harmful side effects. At most, your child may be dizzy or drowsy as the medicine begins to wear off. The importance of sedating a child using these chemicals lies in the fact that it reduces the chance of the child moving suddenly when they feel slight pressure or pain.

2. Be Aware of the Risks

The American Academy of Pediatrics Dentistry provided several guidelines or recommendations as a safety protocol before sedation. However, in some cases, the child may get more heavily sedated because the anesthetic dosage is incorrect. This can obstruct the airway, either because of inflammation or a spasm of the vocal cords, and a drop in the level of oxygen in the blood. The amount of dosage given to a child can vary depending on several factors, such as age, weight, height, etc. For example, if your child is young or obese, it increases the chances of an obstructed airway. In such cases, it is always more advisable to opt for an alternative method that does not involve sedation.

3. Be Aware of the Alternatives

The first thing you should check for are alternatives to sedation. Many times, the removal of a tooth or treatment of a cavity can occur in the absence of sedation. As baby teeth fall out, the dentist could always treat the cavity superficially and simply wait for the tooth to fall. Thus, it becomes possible to avoid sedation altogether. Furthermore, there may also be alternative methods of treatment, etc. which could be more beneficial than the proposed one. Thus, it is always good to inquire about these alternatives.

4. Go to a Certified Dentist

This is one of the most crucial aspects of finding the right dentist for your family. The evolutionary nature of the medical field makes it imperative that a dentist remains up to date on the latest trends in technology and dental science. Out of the many certifications or qualifications, you should look for in a dentist, one of the most vital ones is a certificate in oral sedation dentistry training. This certificate indicates that the dentist can not only carry out the procedure fittingly but is also a dedicated professional. Thus, it can be a useful parameter when picking a family dentist.

5. Inquire About the Safety Measures

If sedation is an absolute necessity to complete a procedure, then you should always inquire about what safety measures are in place. Receiving sedation treatment in an office comes with its own set of problems. In hospitals, there are several other professionals who can assist the doctor in case of emergencies. Hence, it is important that the dentist has proper safety measures in place, which the parent knows as well.



Taking your child to the dentist is a vital aspect of growing up. The dentist can inform you about several appropriate dental regimes that can improve the oral health of your child and hence reduce the chance of issues taking place at later stages. Furthermore, in the case of family dentists, being regular with appointments and fixing a schedule can help familiarize the dentist with your child’s oral state. Thus, it can help them provide better courses of treatment, medication, etc.which could also act as alternatives to sedation-based procedures.

In conclusion, if sedation is being prescribed simply to reduce the anxiety of your child, you could try reducing the anxiety of your child by other means, such as making them listen to music, reading books, etc. However, if sedation is necessary, then remember to visit a dentist with the right certifications as well as safety protocols. Under proper supervision, sedation is safe and useful in making the child relaxed before dental procedures. Thus, we hope that this article helps you understand the different situations where sedation dentistry should be used for children.

1. Trends in death associated with pediatric dental sedation and general anesthesia.

2. Guidelines for Monitoring and Management of Pediatric Patients Before, During, and After Sedation for Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures: Update 2016

3. Adult Oral Sedation Dentistry