Sedation Dentistry

Dr. Kari often says, “the only thing predictable about pediatric dentistry is that a child’s behavior can be unpredictable!” As we aim to fulfill our mission to provide quality, comprehensive dental care to children in a friendly, caring, and compassionate environment, we put your child’s safety at the forefront of our decision-making. Not all children are physically, mentally, and emotionally able to tolerate or cooperate for comprehensive dental care while wide awake in the dental office.

Our Panther Pride has a mobile anesthesia partner who brings a team of medical professionals to the office each week to assist us in providing complete dental care to children under general anesthesia. Every week, the office of Panther Pediatric Dentistry is converted into a pediatric dental surgical suite where children’s dental needs are met while they are asleep via sedation dentistry.

Children between the ages of 3 and 12 years, with extensive dental needs (fillings, crowns, extractions, etc.), with minimal medical conditions, and a BMI (body-mass index) score between the 1st and 99th percentiles, are prime candidates for sedation dentistry. Dr. Kari and the Panther Pride will discuss with you if your child is a candidate, work with you to schedule a date, and register your child with our anesthesia partner. While your child’s dental needs can be met with this sedation service, they must obtain medical clearance and be free from illness in order for the surgery to take place as scheduled.

Preparing For Your Child’s Sedation Evaluation Appointment

As we consider dental sedation for your child, here are some important steps you need to know to prepare for the day of dental surgery:

1. Health clearance must be received. Our anesthesia partner needs to review your child’s medical history to determine if this outpatient service is safe for your child. Some children have medical needs that are best suited for a children’s hospital environment and not a dental office.

A small boy in a dentist's chair looks at a model of teeth

2. Time of surgery. Our Panther Pediatric Dental office will contact you 3-5 days before the scheduled procedure to give you an arrival time for your child. Upon arrival, you will sign a dental surgery consent form, meet the nurse for a pre-operative assessment, meet with the anesthesiologist, and review the treatment with Dr. Kari. The parent/guardian should plan to be at Panther Pediatric Dentistry for 3-4 hours to include pre-operative assessments, treatment, and recovery. The parent/guardian MUST BE PRESENT throughout the procedure and cannot leave the office building while surgery is taking place on your child.

3. No eating and drinking before dental surgery. Your child should have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before surgery, regardless of the time you are expected to arrive at Panther Pediatric Dentistry. This rule must be followed and is meant to protect your child from serious medical conditions. Violation of this rule may result in cancelation of the procedure and referral to another pediatric dental anesthesia sedation provider.

4. If your child is ill on the day of surgery, the anesthesiologist may cancel their case. If your child becomes ill before the surgery, please call us as soon as possible so that we can reschedule the procedure. In the event of canceling the surgery for a medical reason, rescheduling can take place 4-6 weeks after your child is feeling much better.

5. The treatment plan may change once Dr. Kari begins the procedure. Not all dental findings are detected from x-rays alone. You will discuss any changes to the treatment plan with Dr. Kari once the procedure ends. Please keep in mind that once the treatment is completed, routine dental visits are important to monitor the success of the work that was performed, and to help your child maintain a healthy smile!

little girl looks at her teeth in a mirror

We look forward to working with you to provide a safe environment where your child’s comprehensive dental needs can be met. If you have any questions or would like to explore sedation dentistry for your child, please call us at 216-938-8501 and speak with our Surgery Coordinator.

Pediatric Dental Sedation Post-Operative Instructions

A small boy in a dentist's chair looks at a model of teeth

1. Encourage clear liquids for the rest of the day, if there are no issues with nausea or vomiting, they can move to a soft diet. A soft diet should be followed for the next 2-3 days. The number of days may vary depending on the treatment that was performed.

2. If there were any extractions, do not drink through a straw or create any suction in the mouth for the next 3 days. Rinse with warm salt water 3-4 times/day while healing to help keep the area clean. Use a cold compress (ice pack) on the face to help ease any pain and prevent swelling. 

3. Give your child children’s Motrin or Tylenol every 6 to 8 hours as needed for pain. You can alternate between the two medicines, but wait two hours before taking the next medication.

4. Use gauze wrapped around your finger to brush around crowns. Begin to brush teeth with a soft toothbrush the day after surgery. Remember the gums will be tender for the next few days.

5. Avoid sticky candies, food, and gum because these will cause crowns to become loose and damage to the tooth can occur. If any of the crowns become loose, call our office within 24 hours to have the crown put back on. If you don’t, the tooth may become abscessed or infected and lost! Avoid sticky candy to help crowns and sealants last!

6. If there is any bleeding in the area treated, fold 1 or 2 of the gauzes you were given and place it over the bleeding area. Have your child bite down and hold pressure on it for 15 to 20 minutes. If bleeding continues, you can place a wet tea bag and have the child bite down as if it were gauze.