Pediatric dentists who offer sedation dentistry for children do so on a case-by-case basis. If your child absolutey will not sit still or accept the laughing gas to calm down, you will probably have to take him or her to a pediatric dentist who understands the many challenges of ADHD and offers sedation dentistry as a way to get your child the dental and oral care he or she needs. The whole process will probably be more intimidating to you than your child, but if either of you have questions about what a typical morning in the life of sedation dentistry looks like, it goes something like this.
Somewhere between six and eight in the morning, your dentist will have you check in to a surgical center. This may be at a hospital or he may have his own surgical center. Either way, plan ahead and bring something to occupy both your time and your child's while he or she awaits the sedation process. Usually you will check in at the front desk, then check in in another waiting room inside where your child will have to strip down and put on a surgical gown while you confirm all of your child's medical history, family history and discuss what will happen next.
Oral Tranquilizers and IV Sedation
Not all dentists use a pre-sedation oral tranquilizer, but dentists that do use them will make sure it is easy to swallow. The oral tranquilizer helps your child calm down and get ready for the IV portion of sedation. It also helps them forget parts of the procedure that may be painful or terrifying, thereby reducing your child's dental fears in the future. Another half an hour to an hour will go by before the dentist is ready to take your child into the sterile surgery room, during which time your child will be wheeled out of the back waiting room and into a surgical prep room to receive his or her IV. You will part company at this point.
Once your child is fully sedated, the dentist and the operating room nurses can take X-rays, examine your child's teeth closer for problem areas, diagnose oral and dental problems, and then fill any cavities, apply sealants and remove any badly damaged teeth. They work quickly to treat your child so that your child is not anesthetized for an extended period of time. Most procedures for children when sedation is required last about an hour, give or take thirty minutes.
Gradually your child will be allowed to wake up, first in one post-op recovery stage room, and then in another. As your child becomes more alert, he or she can get dressed, eat and/or drink something provided by the hospital staff (since your child was not allowed to eat or drink all night and all morning) and then have his or her IV removed. At this point you may take your child home to relax, although most children with ADHD are already back to their old energetic selves.
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