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How Safe It Is To Sedate Kids for Dental Surgery

Using Anaesthesia on kids for dental work

Visiting the dentist is an imperative part of maintaining proper oral health. A timely visit to the dentist can save you from a lifetime of misaligned teeth, cavities, or other jaw or gum-related issues.

Apart from this, getting our teeth regularly cleaned and checked is a crucial part of dental routines. Thus, inculcating proper oral practices in ourselves as well as our children can immensely help our oral health.

Usually, many of us fail at keeping dental appointments because of our busy work schedules. At the same time, this could also occur because we are fearful of the dentist.

Concerning this, children usually dislike going to the dentist because of this aspect of fear and apprehension. Thus, when it comes to procedures, children are at a greater risk of injuring themselves in the dentist's chair as they may become fidgety.

In such cases, the dentist may suggest sedation as a technique for calming the child. However, many questions and debates arise about the safety of this procedure.

Types of Sedation

  • Nitrous Oxide: This compound, also known as 'laughing gas', is a mild sedative that allows the child to remain awake during the procedure. Children have to inhale the gas which gets its name because the child may have small fits of giggles. However, the compound alleviates any pain the child might feel.
  • Mild to Moderate Sedatives: These sedatives often come in the form of pills or a combination of pills. They are generally given to older children or those who are more afraid. Depending on the strength of the dosage, the child will remain awake but may not coherently follow all of the instructions. Furthermore, many children may not remember the procedure once they are no longer under the drug's effects. However, the dentist can freely operate on the child without much worry.
  • IV Sedation: Intravenous sedation involves injecting the child with medication that makes him or her fall asleep. Under these conditions, the doctor should carefully monitor the child.
  • General Anaesthesia: This is conducted by a trained professional. The qualified professional will make your child sleep while monitoring his or her vital functions, including heart rate, breathing, etc.

Criticism of sedation

Usually, sedation may seem like the safest way that your child can undergo treatment. However, several factors may cause problems in the procedure.

Breathing Problems

This is the biggest criticism of sedation. Many times, children may stop breathing after being sedated because of obstructions caused in the airway. This may occur as a result of the swelling up of the vocal cords or the passage itself. This can cause a drop in the level of oxygen in the blood which may result in death.


Some children often complain that they do not feel comfortable under the effects of anesthesia. Occasionally, they may feel dizzy, nauseous, and disoriented after the procedure. Thus, they may prefer other methods of treatment.

Incorrect Dosage

One of the major issues with sedation is that an improper dosage could cause immense problems. For instance, this could also stop the child from breathing correctly and hence could have disastrous consequences.

Key Points to Remember

When coming across the possibility of sedation, it is essential that you keep some key points in mind:

Inquire About Alternatives

Sometimes, a dentist may recommend sedation for a nervous child. However, in such cases, it is better if you find out if there are other ways the treatment can take place. Furthermore, you could also try other ways to calm the child. You could read him or her a story, listen to music, or help them relax before the procedure begins. You may also reduce the amount of apprehension if you explain the procedure and its benefits.

Go to a Certified Dentist

While there are many ways you may avoid sedation, in some cases, it is necessary. Thus, when choosing a dentist for the family, it is vital that you visit a dentist who possesses adequate qualifications, such as ACLS certification.

This not only shows that the dentist knows of the many protocols set up by the American Academy of Paediatric Dentistry but also indicates that he or she is trained for conducting the procedure. Furthermore, they will also know the safety protocols for conducting such a treatment. Hence, your child will be in safe hands.

Medical History

The age, weight, etc. of a child also plays a major role in determining how they deal with anaesthesia. Hence, it is also helpful if you carry you provide your dentist with your child's medical history before the procedure.


To sum up, sedating kids for dental surgery or dental treatments are safe if experienced professionals carry out the process under the proper guidelines. Make sure your dentist has the training and experience to perform the task.

Also, keep a check on your child’s breathing before and after the treatment. The responsibility of your child’s safety lies with you as well as the dentist.

About the author

Jessica Smith has been writing articles for e-business and e-lance sites for more than four years. Her educational background is Masters in English and journalism, which gives her a broad platform to write on a variety of topics with ease and efficiency. She is an independent writer especially enjoys writing on fashion and lifestyle.

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Recommended reading

If you enjoyed this post and have time to spare why not check out these related posts and dive deeper down the rabbit hole that is health and hygiene.

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