Oral Sedation Pediatric Dentistry – What to Expect

If your child is having a dental procedure involving oral sedation, there is no reason to fear; it generally comes with minimal risks.

Pediatric Oral Sedation

If you have a child who is going to have oral surgery, oral sedation might be recommended or even required. Oral sedation might sound intimidating due to the word sedation. However, unlike anesthesia or IV sedation, oral sedation is much less complicated and generally has very few adverse effects or concerns.

What Is Oral Sedation?

Oral sedation is when your child receives oral medication that helps them to be conscious but in a sleep-like state during a procedure. The medicine usually allows them to sleep, but it is possible that they can be completely awake and feel very little and remember little to nothing.

Like a magic memory eraser, oral sedation is an excellent way to take away the pain and anxiety of having something like a tooth pulled, so that your child doesn’t have to suffer any emotional distress.

“How Will My Child Behave?”

The oral medication that a child receives during a procedure will usually last after the treatment is completed. Your child can be sent home immediately following its completion without concern. It might be alarming to see your child at first because they can seem incredibly out of it and incoherent, but this should be very short-lived.

Once the medication wears off, they generally will not remember what happened during the procedure and will be back to their old self.

It is not unusual for your child to talk after a procedure about it, which can also be somewhat concerning. They often will not make much sense and be completely unaware of what they are saying.

Even if they talk about what happened and what they witnessed, that doesn’t mean that the oral sedation didn’t work. When your child fully wakes up after the medications have worn off, it is unlikely that they will remember a thing.

What to Watch for After Oral Sedation

Take precautions to ensure that your child doesn’t injure themselves after oral sedation. Since they aren’t fully aware of what they are doing, it is best not to let them eat hard foods, especially if their mouth is still numb post-surgery.

Serve only soft foods until you know they are coherent and have sensation back in their mouth. Otherwise, there is a risk that they will hurt themselves when chewing.

Also, if they are incredibly groggy, it is essential to observe them. If your child gets up to go to the bathroom or starts to roam the house, things like stairs or tripping hazards can be risky. If they are awake but not very alert, you might want to watch them until you are sure that they are fully conscious.

If your child is having a dental procedure involving oral sedation, there is no reason to fear; it generally comes with minimal risks. The only thing that you might want to be concerned about is watching them afterward until the medications have run their course.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about sedation dentistry, we’d be happy to speak with you!

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Updated: March 22, 2022

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