Pediatric Sedation

Our team can keep your child comfortable during their visit

 
Baby with oxygenWe offer pediatric sedation in Herndon, Virginia, to help our young patients feel calm and comfortable during their visits. Before your child’s sedation appointment at GoSmiles Dentistry, we recommend familiarizing yourself and your child with the following tips.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas,” is a mild sedative inhaled as a gas through the nose. It simply helps your child feel more relaxed and at ease without putting them to sleep, and it wears off soon after they stop inhaling. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognizes this form of sedation as a safe and effective way to care for your child’s needs.

Prior to the Appointment
Before your child’s appointment, please inform us of the following conditions:
• Let us know if your child has had any changes to their health and or medical conditions.
• Tell us if your child has a respiratory condition that would inhibit their ability to properly breathe through the nose, as it may limit the effectiveness of the sedation.
• Tell us if your child is taking any medications on the day of their appointment.

Conscious Sedation

Conscious sedation, taken in the form of a pill before their visit, is a little more powerful. It’s used to physically relax and calm your child but still leaves them awake and able to follow instructions. This treatment is recommended for children who are particularly apprehensive, young or have special needs.

Prior to the Appointment
Before your child’s appointment, please inform us of the following conditions:
• Notify us of changes in your child’s health. Don’t bring your child in if they have a fever, ear infection or cold. If your child is ill, we will gladly reschedule the appointment.
• Tell the team if your child is currently taking any drugs or medications.
• Dress your child in loose-fitting, comfortable clothes.
• Make sure your child uses the restroom immediately before arriving at the office.
• Your child should not eat for at least six hours before their appointment. They should only have clear liquids for up to four hours before the appointment.
• The parent or legal guardian must remain at the office during the procedure.
• Watch your child while the medication is taking effect. Keep them calm and close to you.
• Your child will be drowsy and may become slightly excited at the start of the sedation.

After the Sedation Appointment
After the appointment, please follow these instructions:
• Your child will be drowsy and will need to be monitored closely. Keep your child from harm while they are in this drowsy state.
• Should your child decide to sleep, place them on their side with their chin up. You should wake your child every hour and encourage them to drink water to avoid becoming dehydrated.
• Your child’s first meal after the appointment should be easily digestible and light.
• If your child vomits, be sure they are supervised so that they do not inhale vomit.
• Prevent your child from biting or chewing on their lips, cheeks or tongue, as this can cause injury.
• Call our office if you have any questions.

IV Sedation

This form of sedation is recommended for young, apprehensive or special needs children who do not do well with conscious sedation. If your child needs IV sedation, an anesthesiologist will administer and monitor your child throughout the procedure.

Prior to the Appointment
Before your child’s appointment, please inform us of the following conditions:
• Notify us of changes in your child’s health. Don’t bring your child in if they have a fever, ear infection or cold. If your child is ill, we will gladly reschedule the appointment.
• Tell the team if your child is currently taking any drugs or medications.
• Dress your child in loose-fitting, comfortable clothes.
• Make sure your child uses the restroom immediately before arriving at the office.
• Prevent your child from having milk or solid food after midnight the night before their appointment. They should only have clear liquids for up to six hours before their appointment.
• The child’s parent must remain in the office during the procedure.

After the Sedation Appointment
After the appointment, please follow these instructions:
• Your child will be drowsy and will need to be monitored closely. Keep your child from harm while they are in this drowsy state.
• Should your child decide to sleep, place them on their side with their chin up. You should wake your child every hour and encourage them to drink water to avoid becoming dehydrated.
• Your child’s first meal after the appointment should be easily digestible and light.
• If your child vomits, be sure they are supervised so that they do not inhale vomit.
• Call our office with any questions or concerns.

Outpatient General Anesthesia

If your child is very apprehensive, young or has special needs and is unable to receive conscious sedation or IV sedation, our team may recommend that your child get outpatient general anesthesia to complete their procedure. General anesthesia puts your child completely asleep as they receive dental care. This is the same form of anesthesia that would be used if your child were having their tonsils removed, ear tubes placed or a hernia repaired.

General anesthesia is performed in a hospital or outpatient setting. Although there are some risks involved with general anesthesia, the medical community has deemed that the benefits of receiving the required dental care far outweigh the risks of using anesthesia. Without receiving their necessary dental care, your child may experience tooth pain, infection, swelling, decay, damage to the adult teeth and potentially life-threatening hospitalization from dental infection.

Prior to the Appointment
Before your child’s appointment, please inform us of the following conditions:
• Notify us of changes in your child’s health. Don’t bring your child in if they have a fever, ear infection or cold. If your child is ill, we will gladly reschedule the appointment.
• Tell the team if your child is currently taking any drugs or medications.
• Dress your child in loose-fitting, comfortable clothes.
• Make sure your child uses the restroom immediately before arriving at the office.
• Prevent your child from having milk or solid food after midnight the night before their appointment. They should only have clear liquids for up to six hours before their appointment.
• The child’s parent must remain in the office during the procedure.

After the Appointment
After the appointment, please follow these instructions:
• Your child will be drowsy and will need to be monitored closely. Keep your child from harm while they are in this drowsy state.
• Should your child decide to sleep, place them on their side with their chin up. You should wake your child every hour and encourage them to drink water to avoid becoming dehydrated.
• Your child’s first meal after the appointment should be easily digestible and light.
• If your child vomits, be sure they are supervised so that they do not inhale vomit.
• Upon leaving the hospital, you will be given a list of post-operative instructions and an emergency contact number. Please follow the given instructions and contact us if any complications arise.

Care of the Mouth After Local Anesthetic

Local anesthetic is safe to use, but it is important that you and your child follow the given instructions to avoid injury or complication. Often, children don’t understand why their mouth feels different after receiving anesthetic. As such, many children may chew, scratch or play with their numb lips, tongue or cheeks. It is important that you monitor your child after treatment to ensure that they do not accidentally injure their soft tissues by engaging in those activities.

The following includes information about what to expect after local anesthetic:
• If the dental procedure was in the lower jaw, the tongue, teeth, lip and surrounding tissue will be numb after treatment.
• If the dental procedure was in the upper jaw, the teeth, lip and surrounding tissue will be numb after treatment.
• You should closely monitor your child for two hours after the appointment and keep them from biting the numb parts of their mouth.
• Keep your child on a liquid or soft diet until the anesthetic has worn off.
• Call the office if you have questions.

Care of the Mouth After Trauma

Experiencing a dental emergency or trauma can be a stressful experience for both child and parent. To help your family cope after a dental trauma, we ask that you adhere to the following instructions:
• Keep the traumatized area clean. A soft washcloth can help aid the healing process.
• Watch for darkening of traumatized teeth, as this can be indicative of a damaged or dying nerve in the tooth pulp.
• If swelling reoccurs, it is important that you contact our office as soon as possible for an assessment. To keep swelling to a minimum, ice should be administered to the injured area for the first 24 hours.
• Watch for infection (gum boils) in the traumatized area. If you notice that there is an infection, call the office so your child can be seen for care.
• Maintain a soft diet for two to three days after the incident or until your child feels comfortable eating normally.
• Avoid letting your child eat sweets after the incident.
• Avoid letting your child consume extremely hot or cold food or beverages.
• If antibiotics or pain medicine are prescribed, please follow the prescription as directed.
• Call our office if you have any questions.

Care of the Mouth After Extractions

After a tooth extraction, it is important that you and your child adhere to the following instructions:
• After the extraction, your child’s mouth will be numb. Make sure he or she doesn’t scratch, chew, bite or suck on the lips, tongue or cheeks while they are numb. Watch your child closely so they don’t injure themselves before anesthetic wears off.
• Do not rinse the mouth for several hours.
• Do not let your child spit often.
• Do not let your child drink carbonated beverages, like soda, for the rest of the day.
• Do not allow your child to drink through a straw.
• Keep fingers and tongue away from the area of extraction.
• Maintain a soft diet for a couple of days or until your child feels comfortable eating normally again.
• Avoid strenuous exercise or physical activity for several hours after extraction.

Bleeding: Some bleeding is normal. If there is unusual or prolonged bleeding, place cotton gauze firmly over the extraction site and have your child bite down or hold in place for 15 minutes. This can also be achieved with a tea bag. Repeat if necessary.

Pain: If your child is uncomfortable, use Children’s Tylenol, Advil or Motrin as directed. If medication was prescribed, follow the assigned directions.

Call our office if you have any questions or concerns.

Care of Sealants

Dental sealants are a great way to cover the natural grooves and pits of the teeth, and they help keep plaque, food and other debris from settling into the teeth, thus decreasing your child’s risk of developing decay. The sealant can only sit on the biting surface of the tooth and therefore cannot coat the entire tooth. As such, it is extremely important to help your child maintain good oral hygiene to prevent decay next to the sealants or in areas that are unable to cover the tooth.

After getting a dental sealant, your child should refrain from eating ice or hard candy, which tends to fracture the sealant. In order to help your child maintain good oral health and check that their sealants are still in place, it is important that you maintain regular dental appointments.

Dental sealants are recognized by the American Dental Association® as an important tool in preventing tooth decay. When properly applied and maintained, they can help your child keep their teeth healthy. There are many other preventive treatments that our team may recommend your child follow to establish a lifetime of oral health, including fluoride treatments, daily brushing and flossing, and limiting the intake of sugary foods. When these tips are followed, the risk of dental decay can be reduced or eliminated.

Oral Discomfort After a Cleaning

After a thorough dental cleaning, it is normal to experience some bleeding, swelling, tenderness or mild discomfort. Experiencing these symptoms is not due to a “rough cleaning” but is actually due to tender or inflamed gums from insufficient oral hygiene. To aid in your child’s care after the dental cleaning, we recommend following these tips for a few days after care:
• Use a warm saltwater rinse several times per day (one teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water).
• If your child is uncomfortable, use Children’s Tylenol, Advil or Motrin as directed.
• Call our office if you have any questions or concerns.

If you have any additional questions or need clarification, don’t hesitate to speak with our dentists and team at 703-689-3900.