If a fear of the dentist is standing between your child and the care they need, your dentist may recommend IV conscious sedation as a way to proceed with planned care. This type of sedation is safe, reliable and comfortable, and can help make any dental procedure pleasant for your child. Prior to your appointment, your dentist will provide you with care instructions to prepare your child for their visit and “after-care” instructions you can follow once they get home. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the most common concerns you’ll be dealing with once your child has left the office.
Please note: You will want to get, and follow, the specific guidelines your dentist provides for all care regarding your child before and after their visit.
Red flags: Should your child experience heavy bleeding, severe pain, fever, or chills for more than 24 hours, please contact your care provider immediately.
Drowsiness and nausea: Generally speaking, sedation may cause extended drowsiness for your child and, possibly, nausea. Some children with nausea may vomit while in the car on the way home; others not until they arrive home. Either way, vomiting after IV sedation shouldn’t continue for more than 20-40 minutes. If it does, please contact your dentist for further instruction.
Sleeping after IV Sedation: The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has very specific guidelines you should adhere to related to dealing with a child’s desire to sleep after sedation. Most importantly, it suggests your child:
“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 every three to five minutes. 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.”
Addressing pain: Some pain and swelling may be present dependent on your child’s procedure. Your doctor may suggest you administer an over-the-counter pain medicine, or apply ice if necessary.
Keep them hydrated: Have your child drink lots of fluids and eat only soft nutritious foods on the day of their procedure. Normal eating habits can generally commence the next day, or as soon as it is comfortable.
Seek Rest: After sedation, it’s best to keep your child away from any activities that might cause them harm. Just like adults shouldn’t be driving, kids shouldn’t be riding bikes, or hanging out on the playground. Generally speaking, it’s a time for rest. Kids should also stay home from school following any sedation.