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Sedating a child

If your child is in the backseat for the car ride home, make sure there's someone who can be there beside him to watch him and make sure his airway doesn't get closed off or he doesn't slow his breathing while you’re driving home, Swanson said."There are events where children have had sedation, get in a car seat or a car, their respiratory rate goes down and they're just quiet and someone may not know," she noted.Two adults accompanying a child are ideal for this situation.Given the risks associated with sedation, "the dentist should have a frank discussion with the parents on the risks and benefits of anesthesia for treating the underlying disease," said Dr. Be sure the doctor doesn't understate the anesthesia being given.Jim Nickman, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Answers like "it's only a few pills" or "it's just something that relaxes you" are red flags, said Dr. Rafetto, past president of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.4."We advise members to use extreme caution when they're looking at sedating a child less than 3. Get up and walk out if somebody says, "Oh, I took a weekend course and I just started doing this, but it's going to be OK," said Dr. Will there be a separate provider for general anesthesia in the room?

In an office setting,"by the time anyone gets there, the child is in such deep trouble, it’s too late,” said Sibert.Sibert would have no problem with her grandsons having a procedure in a dentist's office if all it would require is “local anesthesia, nitrous, and cartoons.”Kids can come out of sedation a little slower than adults and need prolonged observation, Swanson said.Before you go home, make sure your child is no longer sedated — he’s not falling asleep and not slowing his breathing, Swanson noted.It's unclear how many children — or adults, in general — have died in the U. But earlier this month, a Texas high school student died about a week after undergoing anesthesia to have his wisdom teeth removed.And last summer, two children lost their lives after undergoing extensive dental procedures.General anesthesia —when the patient is unconscious — can be risky in young children and some dentists may not recognize the danger quickly enough, said Dr.Karen Sibert, an associate clinical professor of anesthesiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.“Children have small airways and they choke more easily than adults,” Sibert said.But one thing is certain, “there are too many of them,” said Dr.Michael Mashni, a dentist with anesthesia training who practices in California.Are you going to use a Papoose Board — a temporary restraint? “Parents can also simply ask, ‘Can this wait a year or two?’”Parents should have a healthy respect for deep sedation and general anesthesia in an outpatient setting, where there's very little help available if something goes wrong, Sibert said.


  1. NIH Clinical Center Patient Education Materials Sedating a child for a test or procedure. Tests or procedures often make patients anxious.

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