We now offer in-house sedation services that no longer require a trip to the hospital! There are times when traditional approaches to treatment are insufficient to calm or soothe an extremely apprehensive or fearful child. Children who have experienced an unpleasant visit at the dentist may develop a phobia that can be carried over into adulthood and can lead to neglect of his/her oral health. The good news is that this fear can be reversed, and children can actually develop a positive perception of going to the dentist regardless of negative past experiences. At American Pediatric Dental Group, we have a personal goal of providing all our patients warm, compassionate and quality dental care. We believe that by providing treatment in a gentle and caring manner, we can instill confidence and a lasting positive impression of dental care in your child. We offer many treatment options, including oral sedation, and tailor to the individual needs of our young patients and parents.
Children with extreme dental phobia, extensive dental decay, and/or complex medical conditions often benefit from hospital dentistry in which the treatment is completed in one appointment while the patient is under general anesthesia. The decision to perform your child’s dental treatment under general anesthesia will be thoroughly discussed with you by one of our pediatric dentists during your visit to our office.
What to expect on the day of your visit
Once it is determined that a child is a candidate for sedation in our office, we will schedule the appointment. For the child’s safety, we will coordinate with the child’s pediatrician to rule out any underlying medical conditions or issues that are not optimal for a sedation procedure and verify that the child is not suffering from a cold or the flu. Remember, safety is our number one goal and we want to ensure that the child is healthy enough to undergo sedation at our office. We also strongly emphasize no eating or drinking after midnight, since food or liquids in a child’s stomach may potentially be regurgitated during the procedure leading to a serious and potentially life-threatening condition known as aspiration pneumonia.
Once the parents and child arrive at our office and check in, they will be brought to the pre-op area and one of our anesthesiologists will review with the parents all the steps involved in the sedation appointment, including the technique and sedatives that may be used. We will also gladly answer any questions. The dentist will also review the child’s treatment plan in the pre-op room.
The anesthesiologist will conduct a physical and airway exam to again rule out any potential medical concerns. After reviewing and signing the consents, we will administer a combination of oral medications. After a few minutes the child will start to become sedated and then our team will take them back to the procedure room. Parents are not allowed in the procedure room for the child’s safety and because of the presence of controlled medications. During the procedure, there will be a board-certified pediatric dentist, a board-certified anesthesiologist, and 2 dental assistants present at all times. All of the team members at the office are trained in PALS (pediatric advanced life support) so parents can rest assured that their child is in capable hands.
Once in the procedure room, the child will be connected to a vital signs monitor which allows us to measure their heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and respiratory rate. We also use a device called a pre-cordial stethoscope which allows us to hear the child breathe throughout the case. We will then place the child on a combination of oxygen and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) using a nasal hood over their nose. If the child is calm enough to allow the procedure to be completed, then that’s all they will receive. However, if this is still not sufficient, then an intramuscular injection, what we call a “sticker”, will be administered with a sedative. At this point, an IV catheter will be placed to administer fluids to hydrate the child and any other sedatives may be given through here. We use numbing wipes so that the child does not feel the pinches. As soon as the dental treatment is completed, the child will be transferred to the recovery area where the parents can join their child and stay with them until they are awake. We will be monitoring the child’s vital signs in the recovery area. Once discharge criteria are met and the child is awake and alert, we will help transport the child to their vehicle if needed. Remember to monitor the child for the remainder of the day. They will be numb from the local anesthetic administered by the pediatric dentist and the numbing sensation may last up to 6 hours after completion of the procedure. If not careful, they may actually bite and injure their tongue, lips, or cheeks. The child may also feel a little groggy and tired throughout the day due to the effects of the sedatives. This is a normal side-effect from the procedure. Please give the child plenty of fluids and soft foods throughout the day. They may return to school and their normal routine the following day. Our primary focus is to ensure that both the child and parents has a safe and comfortable experience with us. Do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns that you may have. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is sedation?
American Pediatric Sedation Center is a state-of-the-art dental office offering sedation services to patients who are fearful of going to the dentist. When combined, pediatric dentistry and sedation have many advantages. At American Pediatric Sedation Center, we practice sedation dentistry with a board-certified pediatric dentist who has a sedation license along with a physician anesthesiologist. The goal of sedation is to have all of the child’s dental treatment completed in one appointment, with the child being relaxed and having little to no recollection of the procedure itself. In this way, the patient can have a positive experience while visiting the dentist and furthermore, since treatment can be completed in one visit, it allows treatment to be completed in a timely manner so that cavities don’t progress.
- Why come to our center to fix cavities?
American Pediatric Sedation Center is a fully equipped dental office! Our team is able to take any necessary radiographs after the child is sedated and if needed, change the treatment plan so that we do exactly what the child needs.
If there are any other cavities that were previously undiagnosed, we will proceed to fix them the day of the sedation appointment. This way the child will leave our office cavity-free
- Is sedation safe?
A commonly asked question by parents is “how safe is sedation”? The short answer is that it is very safe. Our sedation technique involves an incremental, or step-wise approach, to successfully get the child to the point where they are relaxed and comfortable so that the dentist is able to complete the dental work. Our number one priority is to keep our patients safe at all times and also for them to have a positive experience getting their cavities fixed. We are very conservative in our sedation approach, only administering enough sedatives so that the child is relaxed during the dental procedure. The child will not likely remember or feel anything throughout the procedure.
- Why fix baby teeth?
Baby teeth, just like adult teeth, have a nerve that can feel sensations such as hot and cold. If not taken care of and a deep cavity progresses to the nerve, a child can experience pain, swelling, and infection. Cavities can cause many real-life issues for children including low self-esteem, difficulties with chewing/eating, speech, and even potential for crowding of permanent teeth in the future.
Have a question?
Reach out to us! We’re always here to help.