Most sedation dentistry for kids involves the use of local anesthesia. However, intravenous (IV) sedation may be more appropriate in some situations. Children who are extremely fearful, very young, or who don’t possess the ability to cooperate are typically good candidates for this procedure. At Bay Area Kids Dentist, you may also hear us refer to it as general anesthesia.

If your child requires dental surgery or another more complex kid’s dentistry procedure, our staff will discuss all sedation options with you before scheduling it. After you decide to go ahead with IV sedation, a member of our office staff will contact you to review your child’s health history. We may need to complete the procedure at a local hospital if your child has a complex medical condition. However, we will always inform you of this necessity in advance and provide you with all instructions you need prior to the day of the procedure.

Preparing Your Child for IV Sedation

We prefer that parents not tell their child about the IV needle before arriving at our office. In our experience, this only makes them more frightened, anxious, and difficult to calm down. When your child arrives for the appointment, our staff will explain the reason for using the needle as well as how we go about inserting it. Depending on your child’s age and comprehension abilities, we may demonstrate this on a doll or other child-sized model first. We typically reserve this part for last so your child isn’t upset during the rest of the intake process.

A nurse needs to weigh your child and conduct a brief physical exam soon after you arrive. At this time, we will also discuss aftercare instructions with you. We encourage you to hold and comfort your child while he or she receives the sedative. After it takes effect, your child may not remember the needle or any other part of the procedure.

What to Expect During the Procedure

Once we are certain that the sedative is working, our staff takes your child back to the dental treatment room. He or she will receive heart and breathing monitors in addition to the sedation. We then start a controlled sedative infusion that continues throughout the appointment. The nitrous oxide and oxygen delivered to your child provides him or her with excellent pain relief for the minor discomfort of the dental work. Since we don’t normally use numbing medicine, your son or daughter won’t wake up with a numb tongue.

At the conclusion of the dental procedure, our staff turns off the machine delivering IV medicine and removes all monitoring devices. We recommend being present in the room when your child awakens for comfort purposes. It may take up to one hour after awakening for him or her to be ready to go home. You should expect sleepiness for the next three to four hours, although your child can resume a normal diet right away. Children who receive IV sedation rarely experience nausea or vomiting.