What is Sedation Dentistry for Children?

There are a number of parents who want to know more about sedation dentistry for their children. It should be mentioned that Dr. Cobb has been in private practice as a pediatric dentist since 1992, and he has come to learn that his unique office, staff, and personal approach allow most children to feel quite comfortable with his services. From time to time, however, Dr. Cobb will recommend sedation dentistry to ensure the best possible outcome for the recommended procedure, as well as the overall safety for the patient.

For parents who worry about how their child will react to certain dental procedures and instruments, the topic of sedation dentistry raises a number of questions. This is normal. Other parents of children with certain health concerns also frequently ask about sedation dentistry. As with any issue pertaining to dentistry and children, Dr. Cobb and the office staff are always available to listen to concerns and answer questions or make recommendations based on the needs of the parent or child. For the purposes of this article, however, we will try to answer some of the more common questions about sedation dentistry (as performed by Dr. Cobb).

First off, it should be stated that not every pediatric dentist practices sedation dentistry. Dr. Cobb, however, does offer sedation dentistry for children with conditions or issues that warrant this specific type of service. Another thing to know is that sedation dentistry procedures are not practiced here at our North Mur Len Road office. Sedation dentistry makes use of an “intravenous sedative” through an IV – just like any other surgical procedure where the patient is unconscious during the entire procedure. Accordingly, this type of sedation process requires the attention and expertise of a professional anesthesiologist. For this, Dr. Cobb utilizes the nearby facilities and staff at Children’s Mercy Hospital. There are a number of highly-experienced anesthesiologists on-staff at Children’s Mercy.

When is sedation dentistry recommended? Sedation dentistry is typically recommended for children under 5 years old with a lot of tooth decay. In these cases where there are a number of teeth that need to be repaired, Dr. Cobb may prefer to approach the process in a single visit. These kinds of lengthy procedures are often best served by an IV sedation process – where all of the decayed teeth can be cleaned and repaired in one session. Most parents are open to a one-time sedation procedure – rather than extending the process over a number of subsequent visits. Sedation dentistry is also recommended for those children with other serious health issues.

One of the greater benefits of sedation dentistry is that complex procedures can be performed with no lasting memory of the event or the office. Dr. Cobb will even coordinate with an audiologist if the child is also scheduled to get tubes in their ears – these procedures can be performed one after the other.

After sedation dentistry procedures, Dr. Cobb (or a member of his staff) always calls in the evening to see how the patient is doing. Dr. Cobb asks parents to keep an eye on their child for signs of redness or swelling in the mouth or fever that persists. Parents are encouraged to call the office if any of these symptoms arise. Parents are asked to bring their child back into the office for a follow-up appointment 4 weeks after the sedation procedure.

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