As parents, keeping our children safe and healthy is our main concern. That means, among other things, making sure they have regular dental check-ups.

While some kids don’t mind sitting in the dentist’s chair, others, just like some adults, become extremely anxious and afraid at just the thought. In cases like these, or if the procedure is long, the dentist may recommend oral sedation. This will help your child get through the experience with a minimum of pain and fear.

But no parent likes to hear the words ’sedation’ and ýour child’in the same sentence, so the big question is; Is oral sedation for kids safe?

Before we answer that, we should look first at what oral sedation is.

What is Oral Sedation?

Oral sedation is the administration of a mild sedative to help keep patients calm before and during their procedures. For children, the sedative usually comes in liquid form and the exact dosage is calculated according to the weight of the child. Today, the most popular drug regimen is midazolam, a benzodiazepine, in combination with an antihistamine, usually hydroxyzine, to prevent nausea and promote drying of the mouth. Midazolam also causes mild amnesia so the patient will have little or no recollection of the procedure although they were conscious during it. This helps prevent future trauma in young patients.

Should Kids Be Sedated for Dental Work?

Oral sedation is one of the safest forms of dental sedation there is, and it is especially beneficial in treating children for a number of reasons;

  • The patient is conscious and cooperative during the procedure and can respond to questions and instructions from the dentist.
  • It keeps the patient calm and relaxed before and during the procedure, reducing stress levels for all involved (child, parents, and dentist).
  • Recovery time after the procedure is relatively short.
  • The amnesiac properties of the sedatives used help prevent accumulative trauma, especially for young patients who require multiple procedures.

Keep in mind though, that there is an element of risk in any form of sedation. To minimize this, make sure your dentist is properly trained in oral sedation. Before any drugs are administered, your dentist should be thoroughly familiar with your child’s medical history and their current state of health. Ask them about the drugs they recommend and their pre- and post-procedure care recommendations. Oral sedation is a huge benefit for most patients but it is not necessarily appropriate for everyone. If you still have doubts, contact us now for expert advice on keeping your kid’s teeth healthy and strong.