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IV Sedation


IV sedation is a way of using medication to relax a child. It involves placing a needle into a vein through which medications are administered.
Most children are. We will give your child an oral sedative before we start the IV so that they will be more relaxed. The IV needle feels like a small scratch on the back of the hand.
Children with severe anxiety or who have had difficulty receiving dental care are candidates for IV sedation. In these cases, milder forms of sedation such as nitrous oxide and oxygen or oral sedatives are ineffective. Also traditional behavior management techniques, which are successful in helping most children to accept dental treatment, are ineffective with very anxious children.
The effects of IV sedation are much more predictable than any other form of sedation. IV procedural sedation helps to create a safer and better environment in which we can provide quality dental care. This can help to prevent injury which may occur if your child is struggling when treatment is attempted without sedation.
We use several medications for IV procedural sedation. Benzodiazepines are used because they are very safe. We may also use short acting narcotics. None of these medicines will make your child unconscious when used according to our protocol. We will also ask you questions about your child’s general health and medical history to make sure that the medicines we select can be used safely with your child.
The short answer is yes. We are fully qualified to administer medications and monitor and manage patients who receive IV sedation. We are certified by the Montana Dental Board to provide IV sedation. We use the latest in monitoring equipment to assess your child’s heart rate, blood pressure, the level of oxygen in the bloodstream and your child’s breathing. These monitors help us to ensure that your child is doing well under sedation while their dental treatment is completed. We are certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support.
We recommend that you minimize discussing the dental appointment with your child as this may increase their anxiety. Should your child become ill, contact our office. It may be necessary to choose another appointment. Sometimes the medicines will cause nausea or vomiting. Therefore, it is important that your child not have a meal before the appointment. We will discuss specific food and fluid intake with you prior to the sedation appointment. Refer to the Preoperative Instructions for Sedation Appointments which you have received.
Once our dental team is ready to begin your child’s appointment, a staff member will bring your child into the treatment room. We ask that you remain in the waiting area. Having a parent present at this time is often more upsetting to you, the parent. If you are upset your child may also become upset. Our goal is to create a peaceful and stress free environment. Generally, your child will be quite relaxed at this point because of the oral sedative taken earlier. As we perform only conscious sedation, your child will respond to sounds, voices and touch during treatment. If your child is very relaxed they may fall asleep. However, some children may cry briefly during the dental treatment, even though they are obviously sedated. As long as the child’s behavior is cooperative, crying should not cause alarm. Some children need protective stabilization. This is like a blanket and is wrapped around the child to ensure that he/she does not move too much during the dental treatment. We use this device only for the child’s safety. During sedation appointments, we require a parent to be present in the office waiting area at all times. After the treatment is completed, your child will be moved to our recovery room where he/she will be monitored by our staff. You will be able to be with your child here as they recover from the sedation.
Children who have been sedated should return home for the remainder of the day and should be under parental supervision indoors. Your child will likely have only foggy recollections of the dental appointment. The effects of the medication should pass in approximately 12 hours. He/she may experience any of the following side effects from the medication(s) they received:
  1. The child may feel dizzy. Avoid stairs, bicycles or other activities where a fall could result in injury. Even while walking, hold your child’s hand or carry your child.
  2. The child may have nausea and/or vomiting. To minimize, restrict movement when the child is still sedated. Small sips of cool, clear liquids should be offered first. If these are tolerated well, offer semisolid foods like soup, noodles or rice.
  3. Very rarely, the child may hallucinate or see things. Reassure the child that they are safe.
  4. Very rarely, mood swings may occur wherein a calm, tranquil child will become disoriented or uncooperative. This is usually short-lived.
  5. Please refer to the Discharge Instructions sheet which you will receive at the end of your child’s appointment for additional information.