Oral Conscious Sedation
Prior To Your Child's Sedation
Please notify our office of any change in your child’s health and/or medical condition. Fever, ear infection, nasal or chest congestion, or recent head trauma could place your child at increased risk for complications. Should your child become ill just prior to a sedation appointment, contact our office to see if it is necessary to postpone the sedation.
Tell us about any prescribed, over-the-counter, or herbal medications your child is taking. Check with us to see if routine medications should be taken the day of the sedation. Also, report any allergies or reactions to medications that your child has experienced.
Food and liquids must be restricted in the hours prior to sedation. Fasting decreases the risk of vomiting and aspirating stomach contents into the lungs, a potentially life-threatening problem. We will not proceed with the sedation if you do not comply with the following requirements.
Type Of Food/Liquid
Clear liquids (water, fruit juices without pulp such as apple juice)
Formula, non-human milk, and light meal (toast and clear liquid)
Fried or fatty foods or meat
Minimum Fasting Period
2 hours before sedation
4 hours before sedation
6 hours before sedation
8 hours before sedation
Dress your child in loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. This will allow us to place monitors that evaluate your child’s response to the medications and help ensure your child’s safety. These monitors may measure effects on your child’s breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure.
Try not to bring other children to this appointment so you can focus your attention on your child undergoing the sedation.
If you will be traveling home by automobile or if you must bring any other children with you to this appointment, it is preferable to have two adults accompany the patient home. On the way home, one individual should be able to observe the child’s breathing without any distractions, especially if the patient falls asleep while in the car or safety seat.
During the Sedation Appointment
After your child has taken the oral medicine, often in a liquid form, you and your child are directed to our sedation room. Here the lights will be dimmed and your child may choose to watch a movie while waiting for the sedative(s) take effect. We will ask you to watch your child closely as he/she may become sleepy, dizzy, unsteady, uncoordinated, or irritable. You will need to remain next to your child to prevent injuries that may occur from stumbling/falling. Keeping your child calm but distracted from the unfamiliar surroundings often is helpful.
You, as the child’s parent/legal guardian, must remain at the office throughout the sedation appointment.
During the time your child is receiving dental care we utilize all tools available to us to make the experience as safe and comfortable as possible, for all parties involved, but especially for your child. That is why we ask you to please remain in the reception area and you will be kept informed throughout the procedure as needed. Please feel free to discuss this with us further if you have any questions or concerns.
Doctor Ellie and staff will evaluate your child’s health status before he/she will be sent home. Children recover from effects of sedatives at different rates so be prepared to remain at our office until Doctor Ellie has determined your child is stable and the after-effects are minimal. At discharge, your child should be responsive but may be drowsy, crying, or fussy.
After the Sedation Appointment
Once home, your child will still be drowsy and must remain under adult supervision until fully recovered from the effects of the sedation. If your child wants to sleep, position your child on his/her side with the head supported and the chin up. During this period, check your child’s breathing and airway frequently. If your child is snoring, reposition the head until the snoring disappears and your child breathes normally. If breathing becomes abnormal or you are unable to arouse your child, contact emergency services immediately.
Nausea and vomiting are occasional side effects of sedation. If vomiting occurs, immediately clear the material from your child’s mouth. Once again, be sure that breathing is normal.
Your child may be drowsy for some time after the sedation appointment. Restrict activities for the remainder of the day. Prohibit potentially harmful activities such as bike riding, swimming, using playground equipment, or any activity where balance is important.
In addition to the sedative medications, we often use local anesthetic to numb the mouth during dental treatment. The numbness usually lasts two to four hours. Watch to see that your child does not bite, scratch, or injure the cheek, lips, or tongue during this time.
Children may be irritable after treatment. If this occurs, stay with your child and provide a calm environment. If you believe the irritability is caused by discomfort, you may give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Follow the instructions on the bottle for dosing based upon your child’s age/weight.
Once your child is alert, you may give him/her sips of clear liquids to prevent nausea and dehydration. Small drinks taken repeatedly are preferable to large amounts. For the first meal we recommend something light and easily digestible over fatty or spicy foods.
Please feel free to call the office for any questions or concerns that you might have.