Sedation Dentistry

Sedation and Pediatric Dentistrystock-photo-11289393-boy-and-teddybear-in-bed

  We believe parents and guardians can contribute to the success of procedures and invite you to participate. Please read the following information to learn about this medication, its possible use for your child’s dental procedure, and how you can help.

Fast Facts About Sedation Dentistry

  • There are many types of sedation  dentistry.
  • Sedation is the use of medication to make your child very calm for a procedure, but not sound asleep.
  • Sedation is done in the dentist’s office.
  • We recommend sedation dentistry for long or multiple procedures, for children with a high fear of dental care, those who have special needs, or children who find it difficult to sit still.
  • There may be some restrictions when your child goes home.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is the use of a mild sedative (calming drugs) to manage special needs or anxiety while your child receives dental care. Sedation also may be used when several procedures need to be done at the same time, when the safety of a child may be compromised, or if your child has a strong “gag” reflex. Your child’s dentist will give the sedation.
It is important to note that the sedation medication does not control pain or discomfort. Once your child has received sedation, the dentist will give him or her an injection (shot) or injections in the treatment area to keep it pain-free during and after the procedure. The sedation medicine may last up to 6 hours after the treatment is done.

Types of Sedation

Nitrous Oxide
Often called “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is a very safe, mild sedative that will help your child remain relaxed during dental procedures. Your child’s dentist will give the sedation with the use of a “space mask,” which carries air (oxygen) mixed with the medication. Your child will be asked to breathe through the nose, not the mouth, and will sense a faint, sweet smell. The sedation will take effect in about 5 minutes. The mask will remain in place until the procedure is done. Your child will be awake during the entire procedure and may have a “happy” feeling. When the procedure is complete, the nitrous oxide will be turned off and your child will breathe in pure oxygen for about 5 minutes to clear out any remaining gas. You should limit your child to a very light meal before this procedure, such as toast or a bagel.

Oral Sedatives
If your child is nervous, oral sedation may be used. It is taken by mouth or through the nose. This type of medicine will make your child a little drowsy, and will keep him or her relaxed and calm during the procedure. The medicine usually begins to work within 20 minutes. Your dentist will have your child take the medicine once you arrive at the appointment. If your child is having sedation, he or she should have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before the appointment.

IV Sedation
Intravenous (IV) sedation requires a needle to be inserted into your child’s vein, usually in the arm or hand. The biggest advantage to IV sedation is that the dentist can give your child more medicine during a longer procedure to keep him or her relaxed. Home preparation is required for this type of sedation.

For infants under 12 months:

  • Up to 6 hours before the scheduled arrival time, formula-fed babies may be given formula.
  • Up to 4 hours before the scheduled arrival time, breastfed babies may nurse.

For all children:

  • After midnight the night before the procedure, do not give any solid food or non-clear liquids. That includes milk, formula, juices with pulp, coffee, and chewing gum or candy.
  • Up to 2 hours before the scheduled arrival time, give only clear liquids. Clear liquids include water and juices you can see through, such as apple or white grape juice. Milk is not a clear liquid.
  • If your child takes daily medication, you may give it unless specifically told not to do so by your child’s doctor or the scheduling nurse.

Getting Drowsy

  • Sedation medication may be given by mouth, through the nose, or directly into a vein through an intravenous (IV) line.
  • The medicine will work in one of two ways — in a single dose that takes effect slowly and lasts throughout the procedure, or in a continuous dose throughout the procedure.
  • You may stay with your child until he or she is very drowsy.
  • During the procedure your child’s heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and blood oxygen level will be monitored closely.

How To Comfort Your Child Before Induction

As a parent, watching your child undergo sedation may be a very uncomfortable experience for you. Children can sense a parent’s concern — so for your presence to be helpful to your child, you must try to be as calm and encouraging as possible.

There are ways you can help your child, even if you feel uncomfortable.

  • You can bring along a “comfort” item — such as a favorite toy, stuffed animal, or “blankie”— for your child to hold during the induction.
  • You can touch your child to remind your child that you are there. Holding your child’s hand or caressing his or her hair and face will remind your child of your presence.
  • You can whisper, talk, or sing to your child. The sound of your voice can provide reassurance.

Following Sedation

  • When the procedure is done, you will be called to the room to be with your child as the medication wears off.  The length of time it will take the medication to wear off will vary, as some children take longer than others to become alert.
  • Children coming out of sedation react in different ways. Your child might cry, be fussy or confused, feel sick to his or her stomach, or vomit. These reactions are normal and will go away as the sedation medication wears off.
  • When your child is discharged, he or she still might be groggy, dizzy, or nauseous, and should take it easy for the rest of the day.

At Home Care and Follow Up Visits

  • Your child’s nose, mouth, and throat may remain numb for 1 to 2 hours after the procedure.
  • Your child’s gums and mouth may be sore for several days afterward, depending on the dental procedure.
  • Use caution when your child eats and drinks for about 2 hours after the procedure, watching to make sure he or she does not bite the tongue or the inside of the mouth.
  • Your child should only eat soft foods for the first few hours after undergoing a dental procedure that requires sedation.
  • Your child is not to return to school or day care that day.
  • Upon returning home, your child should take it easy for the rest of the day.
  • Your dentist will tell you when you should schedule a follow-up visit.

When to Call the Dentist

If your child experiences any of the following for more than 24 hours, you should call your dentist:

  • fever
  • severe bleeding of the gums
  • severe pain
  • vomiting

If your child has any of these symptoms, call the Dental Clinic at 07622 230008 immediately







Facts about Sedation Dentistry

  • It Really Works! You really can relax through your dental appointment.
  • It Is Safe! You take a small pill prior to treatment, no intra-venous tubes or needles.
  • You will have little or no memory of the experience. You won’t remember any sounds or smells.
  • You can relax for up to five to six hours after taking the pill. The time you are relaxing will vary depending on your needed treatment.
  • Complex dental treatments that often require six to eight appointments, can be done in as little as one! All while you relax.
  • People who have difficulty getting numb have no problem when relaxed and relaxing.
  • Sedation dentistry is a safe way to reduce the fatigue of extended dental treatment requiring long visits.

Common Questions


Will I feel any pain?

No. You will feel nothing!

Will I be unconscious?

No, you are in a deeply relaxed state, you are responsive.

Will I be monitored?

Yes, one of our team is always with you and your vital signs are monitored during the entire visit. You are never alone.

How long will I be relaxing?

Depending on your needs, from two to six hours.

Who Is a Candidate For Conscious Sedation?

People who have . . .
– high fear
– had traumatic dental experiences
– difficulty getting numb
– a bad gag reflex
– very sensitive teeth>
– limited time to complete their dental care
– complex dental problems

People who . . .
– hate needles and shots!
– hate the noises, smells and tastes associated with dental care
– are afraid or embarrassed about their teeth