A routine trip to the dentist is generally a fearful situation for adults too. So, when it comes to children, dental treatments can be quite difficult with them. Especially, very small children are quite difficult to handle for the very reason that they cannot sit still for these complex and tedious procedures.
Sedation is one technique where the anxiety and pain factor can be reduced and is generally safe under medical supervision.
Let us look at the different types of sedation:
1. Conscious sedation:
The patients here, are subjected to inhalation of laughing gas (nitrous oxide) orally, in a pill form or through a liquid which makes them calmer and in control. Here, they don’t get unconscious. Often, small nasal masks are used, which has a combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen which can bring about calmness and euphoric feelings.
2. Deep sedation:
One technique where there is anaesthesia involved, after which the patient is subjected to IV treatment. The child can make little movement and can do things which the dentist asks him to do. It is mostly administered to older children.IV sedation method also eliminates dental anxiety and pain needs.
3. General anaesthesia:
It involves administration of anaesthesia through the endotracheal tube and IV medication. The patient is totally unconscious with no movement or activity. When in spite of these procedures, if patients fail to go numb, then the intraosseous drill is used which is injected in the medullary vein to induce sedation.
Why should you sedate your child?
1. It makes the trip to the dentist less fearful.
Root canals and extractions can get dreadfully painful, and children can plainly refuse to walk to the clinic. At these times, sedation can prove to be useful and prevent future tantrums to the dentist. Also the earlier the problem can be attended to, the more cost-effective and healthier for the child and parents.
2. It is conducted under strict medical supervision.
Parents can get quite hysterical about the safety of the child during sedation, but mostly the staff are skilled and qualified to do this. They have gone through a qualified training procedure to be able to handle this. Also, emergency medical equipment is handy at the clinic.
3. Safe medications are used during the procedure which can quickly act upon the issue and leave the body as quickly as it can be done. Conscious sedation is quite safe as compared to anaesthesia and is commonly administered orally, so no need to face the needle too!
4. Supervision is at hand.
During sedation, an experienced staff member records the vital statistics of the child, like the heartbeat, blood pressure, respiration rate and the blood oxygen level. So, no need to worry, your child is monitored thoroughly through the sedation.
5. Healthy teeth and fuss-free dental visits.
Future dental visits can be quite hassle-free when sedation is practised. The child can not even remember the procedure he has undergone, and hence it can lead to regular visits to the dentist, and a healthy outcome.
Some precautionary steps:
• Do notify the dentist if your child has undergone head trauma, nasal congestion or is under any type of medication prior to sedation.
• It should be kept in mind, that the child cannot have anything to eat or drink prior to the sedation.
• Loose fitting and comfortable clothing is a must during the procedure to enable proper monitoring of your child.
• Another important thing is to closely monitor the breathing of the child post the sedation until they have fully recovered from the effect.
Things to keep in mind after the sedation procedure
• Monitoring breathing after the procedure is of utmost importance. Keep him/her in complete adult supervision till at least 8 to 10 hours after the sedation. Watch out for abnormal breathing or unusual snoring and report any changes immediately to the medical care team.
• Nausea is really common after sedation practices, and in case of vomiting and nausea, do clean up your child’s mouth and pay close attention to his bouts of vomit. If it persists for more than forty minutes, you should report to the medical centre.
• Drowsiness is another common symptom after the sedation. Be sure to monitor your child’s activities for the remainder of the day. No heavy activities, like bike riding/ playing with heavy equipment or swimming. Restrict him from activities which require balance.
• Another important thing is that often, to numb the mouth area, anaesthesia is used. Be very careful that during and after the sedation, the child does not accidentally bite or rupture that area of the cheek, tongue and lips.
• Children may get uneasy and irritable after the procedure. Be with them for the rest of the day and provide them with a calm and soothing environment.
• Once the effect has worn out, start with a liquid diet to avoid dehydration. The first meal should be very light and digestible. Please avoid fat-laden and spicy food.
• The dehydration can cause a fever in the child. There is no need to panic in case of a slight rise in temperature. But, in case of persistent fever, do contact the medical care team.
Ross is a blogger who loves to write especially in the Health vertical. He has written many informative blogs in other verticals too like personal development, unique gifting blogs etc