Indications for sedation or hospital dentistry are as follows:
- Age and or maturity of child
- Rampant decay that requires multiple appointments to restore the child’s mouth.
- Medical reasons
- Previous dental experience of child and or parents.
Sedation or Conscious Sedation is a method of rendering dental treatment for a child or young adult because of the reasons listed above. When your dental provider feels that providing treatment for a child using traditional methods like behavior management, local anesthesia, show and tell and/or nitrous oxide is going to be a challenge; he/she may recommend using one or a combination of sedative medications. The choice of the medications are based on the amount of time that is needed to provide the care, the level of the child’s anxiety and lastly if it the child sustained a dental trauma.
Sedation dentistry has to be provided by qualified dentists that have specialty licenses. These licenses require extensive training to earn the license and continuing education to sustain the license. Dentists can be trained to administer the medications by mouth, in the form of a nasal spray, intramuscular injection and or intravenous (IV) administration. The majority of the sedation procedures in children are performed using medications that the child drinks, usually 15 – 60 minutes before the procedure.
A sedative drug or combination of drugs is administered to a child only after a physical health assessment has been done by your dentist before the procedure. Once the medication is administered the child has to be monitored until the dentist feels like the child is safe to be back with the parent or other care givers. The monitoring equipment include pulse oximeter (measures the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream), blood pressure monitor and or pre-cordial stethoscope(helps listen to the breathing pattern of the patient on a continuous basis).
Dentists that provide sedation dentistry have to be trained and tested in dealing with emergency situations that could potentially happen. The goal is to monitor a child on a continuous base so to avoid emergencies. We have emergency equipment and reversal medications to deal with these situations.
Once the procedure is completed, the child is discharged to a parent or other caregiver. We require that parent or other caregiver be accompanied by another adult on the way home. We feel better knowing that the child is watched by somebody else other than the driver on the way home.
Dental care in a hospital or surgical center is provided when it is deemed necessary by your dentist. This mode of treatment is usually recommended for children in the following situations;
- Child 3 years of age or younger
- Medical reasons where it would be safer to render care in a hospital environment
- Children with special needs that are difficult or impossible to sedate
- Rampant decay that would require multiple sedation appointments.
- A provider who is more comfortable in a hospital environment.
This modality of providing care is very similar to going for surgery for other medical reasons. There will be trained operating facility staff in the pre-op holding area, the operating room and also post-operation care area to take care of your child.
The decision to render care for your child will be based on the information that is mentioned above. Please feel free to ask your dentist if you have any further questions about sedation or hospital dentistry.