Pre and Post-Op Instructions
Moderate (Conscious) Sedation
Before Your Child's Appointment
To ensure a successful sedation appointment, your understanding/cooperation of the following is required.
- For Conscious Sedation appointments, please do NOT allow your child to go to school or daycare before or after their appointment. Upon evaluation of your child by the Dentist, sedation medications are given in liquid or tablet form orally (by mouth) in the office. Once the medications are administered, the parent/guardian and the patient will be directed to a pre-sedation waiting area. Sedation medications require approximately 1 hour to become effective. During this time your child may become drowsy or clumsy. This is the intended response to medications.
- Please be on time or early. Due to time sensitivity with respect to sedation appointments, please be on time or early for your appointment. We may be unable to accommodate late arrivals because of the time required for the medications to become effective.
- No eating or drinking 6 hours before the scheduled appointment. This is important to help ensure your child’s safety. Please watch your child closely in the hours leading up to the sedation appointment to make sure they have not consumed food or drink. This helps to reduce the risk of vomiting and the risk of aspirating vomit. This also helps with the absorption of the medications. If you are unsure of your child's food or drink intake at the time of the appointment or if your child has eaten or drank within the 6-hour window, the appointment will need to be rescheduled. This is for your child's safety.
Please adhere to the following instructions:
Your child can not have anything to eat or drink 6 hours* before their appointment.
*Medications can be taken as prescribed unless they need to be taken with food. If food is necessary, please let us know before your appointment and we can discuss it with your child’s dentist. A little bit of water (less than 4 oz) is ok up to 2 hours prior to the appointment Breast milk is ok up to 4 hours prior to the appointment.
- No other children or appointments during this time: We ask that you bring only the child who is to be sedated to the appointment. Your child will require constant supervision for the duration of their appointment from pre-sedation through recovery. The parent/guardian must stay in the office for the duration of the appointment. Please plan to spend the entire day with your child. An adult should remain with your child until they have returned to a normal state of alertness and coordination.
- How your child will react. Every child responds differently to sedation medications. Your child will drink the sedation medications from a cup or a syringe, they may appear to be excited or agitated at first, but then with a little more time approx. 40-50 minutes, the sedation medications should start to produce a drowsy effect. Sedation medications are intended to relieve a child’s anxiety and facilitate dental treatment safely and comfortably. If the sedation is not effective for your child, the dentist will discuss other treatment options for your child’s dental care. Our goal is for your child to have a positive and rewarding dental experience.
- We will also use laughing gas: In addition to the liquid medications that will be given. When your child is ready to begin treatment, the dentist will also use nitrous oxide/oxygen (also known as laughing gas). Nitrous oxide is administered through a mask that fits on your child’s nose and helps with the sedative effects of the oral medications.
- Please notify us of any changes in your child's health history or medications before their appointment.
- If your child is sick or becomes ill within two weeks of their sedation appointment, please let us know so that we may determine if it is safe to continue or if we need to reschedule their appointment to a later date.
- Inform us if your child takes any medications in the morning. Remember, your child must be NPO (nothing by mouth), for at least 6 hours prior to the sedation appointment. If your child needs to take a medication prescribed by a physician with a few sips of water, that is ok. If the mediation must be taken with food, please let us know about this before your child’s appointment, so we can inform your child’s dentist.
After Your Child's Appointment
Now that your child's Conscious Sedation appointment is complete and they have met our discharge criteria:
- Activity. Your child may feel sleepy for several hours and nap on and off throughout the day. Please ensure to limit activities following sedation. Your child should NOT drive, ride a bike, swim, climb, jump on trampolines, or do any other activity requiring full coordination for the remainder of the day. They can usually expect to resume normal activities on the day following their surgery.
- Breathing. The most important thing to remember is to pay attention to your child's ability to breathe. If they want to nap, ensure they are lying on their side and that you can see their face. Never allow your child's chin to touch their chest as this restricts their breathing. Stay with them and be sure they are breathing freely.
- Numbing Agent. Your child has been given a local anesthetic. This means that portions of their lips and cheeks are numb. During the next 2-3 hours, please make sure that your child does not bite, chew, rub, or scratch these areas, as this can cause significant trauma to this tissue. The anesthetic typically wears off after 2-3 hours. Please reassure your child that their mouth is asleep and will wake up soon.
- Relax the rest of the day at home – No school or daycare. You must continue to stay with and supervise your child. i.e., no school or daycare today. Avoid physical activities such as bike riding, swimming, or playing with other children for the rest of the day. Today is a day of relaxation at home.
- Food and Drink. Once home, you should give your child clear liquids and have a light meal at first. Avoid heavy, greasy foods and dairy products for the rest of the day. Soup, applesauce, and Jell-O are good choices to start. Some children will vomit if they eat too much too soon. You can progress to solid foods in 2-3 hours after the numbing agent has worn off, as your child can tolerate.
- Mouth Discomfort. If your child does experience pain or discomfort, you may use over-the-counter analgesics, such as liquid Tylenol or Motrin (or generic versions of these medications) per the manufacturer’s directions for age and weight.
- Bleeding or oozing: A slight oozing of blood from the mouth for a day is considered normal. Call our office if there is excessive bleeding. Sometimes a little blood mixed with saliva may appear to be excessive.
- Fever. Your child can experience a slightly elevated temperature up to 24 hours after the sedation. Please call our office if the fever rises above 101 or persists for more than 24 hours.
- Other Medications. Do NOT give your child any medicine that causes drowsiness for the next 24 hours. Your child has already been given medicine that can cause drowsiness, temporary clumsiness, poor balance and can cause poor judgment.
- Brushing: brush gently with a toothbrush that has been placed under warm water, and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste either that evening or the next morning. It is important that an adult actually brushes the teeth for their child, not just watch the child brush. Remember a clean mouth can heal more quickly.
- Any Questions or Concerns. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the office immediately: (252) 375-8755. After hours, please get in touch with our after-hours phone number: (336) 705-0556
- Emergency. If you feel there is a medical emergency, call 911.