A pediatric dentist can diagnose and treat a range of oral health concerns in children. However, their primary focus for long-term patients is on preventing issues such as cavities. This article provides an overview of why cavity prevention is important.A common misconception many parents have is thinking that cavities in primary (baby) teeth are not…
Painless Pediatric Dentistry: What Parents Can Do
For certain dental procedures, the dentist might recommend painless pediatric dentistry. Parents have a role to play in making a child's dental procedures comfortable and pleasant. This requires learning about the procedure and sedation options. The pediatric dentist will usually provide instructions on what to do before and after a dental procedure, especially if sedation will be used.
What parents can do
Certain eating and drinking guidelines must be followed in the hours leading up to the treatment with painless pediatric dentistry. The instructions are usually detailed and depend on the child's age. If the child uses a medication daily, parents can administer it unless the child's dentist expressly instructs them otherwise.
Learn about the process
A dental team member will take the child's vital signs, weight, and medical history after they have been registered for treatment. Before the anesthesia is administered, the parent or legal guardian will be asked to sign a permission form. The dentist will meet with the parent to go over the child's medical history and discuss the sedation options available.
Comfort the child
As a parent, witnessing a kid undergo anesthesia may be a distressing experience. Since children can detect a parent's worry, parents must try to stay as calm and positive as possible to reassure their kids. Helpful steps to keep the child include carrying a comfort item, like a stuffed animal or favorite toy, to hold it during the process. Parents can also hold their child's hands to remind them of their presence. The sound of the parent's voice (through singing, talking or whispering) can also be reassuring.
Watch the child
Each child is different, so the time it takes for the medication to wear off will vary. Children who have been sedated react in various ways. The child may scream, fuss, or be bewildered and feel all nauseous and even vomit. These are natural reactions that will subside as the sedative wears off. The child should rest for the remainder of the day.
The child's nose, throat and mouth may take one or two hours to regain sensation after the procedure. Depending on the dental operation, the child's gums and mouth may be sores for a few days after. For the first two hours following the surgery, parents should supervise their child's eating and drinking to ensure that they do not bite their tongue or the inside of the mouth. It is advisable to stick to soft foods for some hours after a dental treatment that required painless pediatric dentistry.
Before leaving the dental office, try to schedule a follow-up appointment if the dentist suggests so. If discomfort, soreness, fever, vomiting or severe gum bleeding occurs for more than 24 hours, be sure to reach out to the dentist immediately for help.
Dental procedures are more tolerable with painless pediatric dentistry. If your child suffers from dental anxiety or has to undergo an extensive dental procedure, you can ask the pediatric dentist about the available options.
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