25 answers

Sedation for a Dental Exam for a Toddler

Hello all,

I have a daughter who is soon to be 3. She is very sensitive- and afraid of noises such as the vacuum, blender and anything else that makes a buzzing noise.

Her teeth are badly in need of a cleaning - we do brush them but they really need a professinal cleaning. I know that she will not sit nicely while they clean her teeth - that thing makes a buzzing noise and it will scare the daylights out of her.

I did call the pediatric dentist nearby and they said they use valium to sedate children so they will cooperate during dental procedures.

My husband does not want her drugged and I really dont either but I know my kid and she will be scared and screaming and the dentist will not be able to work on her.

Has anyone had to sedate their child for a routine dental cleaning>

Did they use valium for your child and how did it effect the child.?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

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Hi L.!
I didn't have to sedate my son for his cleaning, but we did have to for a cavity. We have to again this month for another cavity! Who are his parents! :)
My son is 5 and he won't even consider the laughing gas because he doesn't want to float.
To be perfectly honest with you, I don't know what mild sedation was called and I can't find the dental record to see if it said,s o I could let you know. He was groggy for a little while after his filling, but was fine. He is also fine with doing it again since he doesn't want the gas around his nose.
Hope this helps!!
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My sister found a dentist in Saginaw that specialize in kids. Very kid friendly staff and rooms and only sedate if really ness. I don't know the name but I know they take medicaid pts so it might be easy to look up.

a good dentist would not sedate - seriously. I have an absolutely paronoid child (#3) and have been to good and bad dentists. We have found one three that worked for us. When she wouldnt cooperate we just made another appointment and came back. Only had to do it one time. Some dentists dont let the mommies back, for my child it was easier if I was there.

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Hi L.!
I didn't have to sedate my son for his cleaning, but we did have to for a cavity. We have to again this month for another cavity! Who are his parents! :)
My son is 5 and he won't even consider the laughing gas because he doesn't want to float.
To be perfectly honest with you, I don't know what mild sedation was called and I can't find the dental record to see if it said,s o I could let you know. He was groggy for a little while after his filling, but was fine. He is also fine with doing it again since he doesn't want the gas around his nose.
Hope this helps!!
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

American Association of Pediatrics is suggesting that if your insurance will cover it or you can afford it your child should start going into the dentists when they start getting a good number of teeth. They will check to make sure they are coming in properly and also do some "buzzing" and gentle polishing in small amounts so the child does get used to the office and what goes on. My 3 year old had cavities in both back molars (they say from too much milk or his reflux they weren't sure which). They took him in and got him situated in the chair with a cartoon. He was very calm since this was like his 5th visit to the office. They let him pick a "smell" orange or grape and then they gave him a "funny nose" to wear which is what put out the sedative. He is calm usually anyway but they did all the drilling and he never flinched. My problem lies with the dentists that want to "Swaddle" the child when they don't even give them a shot to do it without. If you think she would be calmer without you in the room, then try that. The reason for the early visits though is because there isn't a long visit or procedure and they get used to it gradually. My youngest son is 1 and he is set to go in for his first visit in December. Good habits can never be formed too early, and unfortunately even with dilligence on a healthy diet children do need to see the dentist in case of cavities as well. Who would have ever thought a child could drink too much milk and get cavities?
Good Luck, and be sure to find a dentist that works well with your child. My dentist is not a pediatric dentist, he is the family dentist-and he is awesome to my kids and they trust him.

1 mom found this helpful

My son had a cavity at age 2 or something like that. The pediactric dentist couldn't do anything because he was too afraid. I had to reschedule and they wrote a prescription for some sort of sedative (don't remember what it is). It worked...the dentist was able to do what he needed to do. A couple years later my boss referred me to a dentist and both my son and I have been going to them for years. As soon as my son set foot into this office, he was fine...he loves these people. You have to do what you have to do. It's not like your 3 year old is going to all of a sudden be hooked on valium because you gave it to him for this much needed trip to the dentist. Your son will be fine. Oh you ask how it affected my child. He stood up from the couch when it was time to leave for the appointment and almost fell over. Sorry, but my mom and I were cracking up. It was pretty funny...but he didn't get sick or anything.

I don't know what to do for her immediatly, but my daughter just turned three, and for about a year now we brush her teeth with a cute little kids electric tooth brush. When she had her first dentist appt she did need a little bribery to open her mouth for a stranger, but because she was use to the noise it didn't bother her. I also have her sit on my lap everytime I get a cleaning.
I reccomend getting a little electric toothbrush, then at least your kid will be use to the buzzing next time.
again, I don't know about the drugs on the kids....

L.,

I have 5 boys and always went into the room with them the first couple of times they got their teeth cleaned. I think it made my kids feel more secure to know I was close by. Everytime at the dentist I always ask, "Do you want me to come with you or wait here?" For quite awhile they would always ask for me to go, but eventually they always end up saying that I can just wait in the outer waiting room. I think it helps them to feel in control if they have a choice.

When my 4th son was around 22 months old he was a climber and climbed up on a short metal filing cabinet that we have and before I could run across the room to grab him, he slipped and caught his tooth on the edge of it. He chipped it off and it had a pretty sharp edge on it. So I called the dentist and they filed it down for me, but he did not like the experience at all, and what they did to get it done was I sat in the dentist chair and then put my son on my lap. I was able to comfort him and hold him securely while they did what they had to do. I would think this may be preferable to valium?

Just wanted to let you know something we did that worked well.
Good luck.

My daughter is the same way and had a horrible experience at our regular dentist's office. She was terrified after that even more than she was before. They referred us to a pediatric dentist in Brighton - Dr. Hale. We took her to see him and the office is awesome. They only see kids and they all sit next to each other for their cleanings. The rooms are designed as Nemo, and spaceships - they watch cartoons during their cleanings and wear sunglasses. My daughter walked out of their smiling and happy as could be. I suggest trying to find an office like this before you go with the sedation. Or if you can't maybe have them try giving her the nitroce gas and see if that would calm her down enough to do the cleaning.

Valium is very effective and very safe (even for children) for dental work...it's very common. Of course you don't want your child drugged, who would? But proper dental care is not an option...so you have 2 choices...either sedate her or fight her...you choose. Don't let anyone scare you out of doing what is best for YOUR child...some moms are only interested in argument factor...you know the ones who ask for the doc's advice seemingly only to argue about it! LOL

I find no harm in medicating when necessary. She won't have any ill effects from the valium except a long nap when she gets home. It really is the most stress free way to go. Eventually, I'll bet she will grow to accept seeing the dentist without needing sedation. You aren't setting her up for any bad reactions in the future. However, there are MANY adults who come through our office asking for pre-dental sedation meds. It's really not a big deal!

~L.

Dear L.,

Our granddaughters' dentist sedated her with some drug (I don't know which one because my husband is the one who takes her to most appointments and he simply does not think to ask all the questions I would if I were taking her). It made her feel relaxed and not scared so she had a positive experience and was not afraid to go the next time she had an appointment. I think this is a good thing. It is being administered by professionals so it is usually safe. I would not do it if you have to sign a waiver stating that you would not sue if any bad thing happened as a result of using the particular drug your dentist's office prefers to use. Otherwise, I would go for it. Using a drug two times a year and getting teeth cleaned properly could prevent some gum problems in the future and possibly keep your child going so her teeth "stay" healthy as she grows up. Some kids have super sensitive hearing and loud sounds scare them. My granddaughter eventually outgrew the need for sedation and now she is not scared to go to the dentist regularly. That reminds me to remind my husband to make them another appointment.

L. C.

My daughter went to the dentist at 3 and a 1/2 but she bounded in all excited and came out with her new toothbrush and toy. So completely different experience. However,she covers her ears when the toilet is flushed, so she is not big on noises either. If it's going to be a big stressful ordeal, just wait. Go in 6 months. Or go, and let the lady take her in and just give her a little wave and go sit down with your magazine. You know they behave better when we are not there and they actually prefer mom to not be sitting there while they are trying to work. Good Luck

L.,

My son is also very sensitive to sounds. He is in first grade right now and really does not like music because the other kids are too loud and give him a headache.

I was also worried about his first dental appointment, but he did fine. I scheduled my appointment for the same day and went first. He sat on a chair and watched the hygienist clean my teeth. Eventually he became bored and asked to go out into the waiting room to watch a movie, the nurses there are great with kids and I could hear every question he asked.

When his turn arrived I sat in the room with him, but he was distracted by my presence and starting acting up - reacting to the noise of the machine, the lights, etc. I think he may have been doing what he thought I expected him to do. Once I left the room the expectation to over-react to the sound and lights was gone and he could just ask questions and follow directions. His appointment only lasted a few minutes (no more than 15) just to acclimate him to the room, the machines and tools, etc.

After I went out to the waiting room he was an angel for the hygienist. Absolutely no problems what so ever. He actually asks to go back to the dentist! =)

I also recommend a pediatric dentist, but go to one that will try to work with your daughter first before suggesting sedation. Your daughter just may surprise you and do just fine.

Good luck!

-C..

My daughter also is afraid of lots of noises, like vacuum, even toliet flusing in public places.. Anything real loud has always freaked her out. However, she was absolutely fine at the dentist. She went for her 1st check up at 3 yrs and did fine! Just make it a big deal ahead of time about what a big girl, and remind her she gets a prize at the end, etc. It may help for you not to be in the room also. With my daughter I was in the room and she still did fine. I take her to Dr Golnick in Taylor on Ecorse Rd.. They were great with keeping her calm! So I'd say NO to the sedation, at least give it a good couple trys first. Good Luck, and let us know how it goes :)

I've never heard of Valium for a 3 year old. If you decide to go that way do some research. Valium has different effects on different people and maybe they've got research on the effects on kids, but I'd be surprised. But... I have a book to suggest to try to get your daughter some control of her anxiety. Its called, Ready... Set... R.E.L.A.X. by Allen/Klein. It's a series of scripts to read to children. We adapted them for help in sleeping for an anxious 8 year old, but its use is far more vast than that. The book is good and worth a look.

Hi L.. You have alot of stuff to read here. I work for a pediatric dentist. We deal with alot very young children who are afraid, we work through it. If your daughter is really afraid, and all we can get done is a knee to knee, thats all that will be done, if after talking to her for a little bit, we think she'll be ok with a cleaning, we do that, and go from there. We like to see children starting at 1 year old, its more for a parent information session than actually doing anything to the child, other than a knee to knee. If you start early enough, by the time they should get their teeth cleaned, they are so comfortable with us, its no big deal. We don't use sedation for cleanings, other than for special needs children, and that is usually when they are older, and very rarely do we do that. We do see alot of autistic, and special needs children, and we do have to put SOME of them in a papoose to get a cleaning done. Valium isn't a premed we use on younger children, usually only those that are in their teens and above.
With that said, when it comes to doing operative work on young children, we do use sedations. Its so much easier on the child, and they dont' remember the appointment. And yes we wrap them in a papoose, its for their safty, and they feel more secure in it, believe it or not. We get alot of referals from general dentists, and we do get a bad name from some parents, because we get the work done, and they think what we do is mean, but they don't look at who caused the problem in the first place. Its either in our office or in the hospital under general anestesia. Hopefully your child doesn't have any decay, and you can just get her used to the dentist. It shouldn't be a scarey time, at first it may be, but after a few good visits, she will love going. Just stay positive, and it should show her it is fun.

My son is nervous of noises and things he does not know.

I plan to go as a family for our dental exams. Obviously not to have us all done in the same day as this would exhaust him!

My focus is to let my son see what happens and familiarize him with the office. I also will have him sit on my lap (or dad's if he prefers) when this happens.

We will also let him bring a comfort toy.

I do feel to sedate could lead to trouble and panic attacks later down the road (especially if you cannot sedate for specific treatments where a cross reaction can occur.)

Good Luck~

a good dentist would not sedate - seriously. I have an absolutely paronoid child (#3) and have been to good and bad dentists. We have found one three that worked for us. When she wouldnt cooperate we just made another appointment and came back. Only had to do it one time. Some dentists dont let the mommies back, for my child it was easier if I was there.

My 8-year old is overdue for her dental cleaning because I have taken her so many times and she screams and cries so hard I leave. The hygenists get frustrated. I was referred to the pediatric dentist that deal with problems like this, but when I showed up, they were planning on strapping her down! Nope. Not going there.
I am now into aromatherapy, and have been diffusing lavender in her room at night...she seems to like it. My plan is to go to the new dentist and put some on her feet when we get there and remind her how relaxing it is. They said she can lay on top of me when I sit in the dental chair and hold her nice. We will see.
Bad thing about his is my 4 year old won't go near the chair thanks to her outbursts! He was just fine before!
Oh, I used to bring in little headsets for my little one to listen to...he picked the cd...and did it since he was 2 this way so the drill did not annoy him. I would tap the beat of whatever he was listening to on his hand to further distract him.
Hope this helps!

I wanted to sedate my daughter at 3 also. At her dental exam, she panicked, screamed, etc The dentist could not hold her down to look in her mouth! He said he would not work on her, and told me I had to take her to a pediatric specialist that could sedate her if necessary. I took her to someone I had heard is great - works only with children. My daughter did fantastic - without sedation!! And my 2 year old son sat still for him while he filled 4 cavities (born with no enamel)!! It is a 45 minutes drive for me, but I make it because he works wonders for children - Dr. James Shenck in Burton - ###-###-####. Also, you may try earplugs for her. Those orange, kid-size ones that feel like putty work great - get at Walmart.

Do seek help from a Dr. that being said, a little benidril goes a long way, also good for long car trip, plane trip, just to calm her a little, not nessarly to put her under. My daughter at 2yr to 16yr has had to have V.C.U.G.'s with a cathator, this required a sedation, but not every time. Mabie make an appt. together, and you go first, let her see it's not bad, bring an I-pod, let her listen to her fav. music instead of all the sounds around her. And stay very calm yourself, they see the fear in us, defently let her listen to music in the waiting room, you know how you can here all that noise, it scares me to. Best of luck to you, see your self and her not haveing any problems, hope it goes well. B.

WHat about if you sit in the chair and hold her? My dentist made it fun for my son, he explained everything and gave him sunglasses. I thought it would be horrible, but he loved it and looks forward to going.

My sister found a dentist in Saginaw that specialize in kids. Very kid friendly staff and rooms and only sedate if really ness. I don't know the name but I know they take medicaid pts so it might be easy to look up.

Find a good dentist.... not one that will drug your child for a cleaning. My daughter has been going to the dentist since she was 2 and has NEVER had a problem. We drive 45 minutes to an amazing dentist that takes time to show everything, check everything, praise her brushing... really this is going to be a life long event for her make it fun. I am afraid of the dentist so it was really important to me, I interviewed three dentists before I found the one we go to.

I haven't heard of using valium but my dentist uses some type of little gas mask for a few minutes before he starts on my kids. Both of my boys started going to the dentist at 3. They have been very cooperative and that gas is not a big deal. It just relaxes them and when the dentist is finished they are fine. No lingering effects for problems.

L., Hi, Been THERE!! First, call the office again, ask if they ALSO strap her down, many pediatric dentist do, That was the worst for my son! We found another dentist, NOt a ped dentist, who was wonderful! He let my son come in to his office, touch everything, see what it was all about, my son went with me for a cleaning and watched, didn't like the noise but wanted to watch, the doc even let my son use the drill brush on my teeth(with help of course) We used ear plugs to help with the noise, but he understood what was going on, so he understood, and he wasn't afraid. The other suggestion that was made was benadryl to calm him if we needed it, but we never did. I don't know where you live but if you have questions, contact me. Thanks. K.
MoM of 5, childcare provider, 30 years! Valuim is way to much for a child! Education is better.

The root of the cause...sensory integration disorder. Occupational therapy at the Abilities Center would be the most helpful for your daughter. They will be able to help more than anyone for both the VERY scary sound of the drilling, not to mention someone invading her mouth. Valium won't assist with either of the two. A therapist may just recommend some home therapy. Good luck in choosing the proper treatment for your baby.

Unless she has a reason that she has to go to the dentist, I would wait. When my kids (now 7 1/2 and 5) each turned 3, I started thinking about taking them to the dentist, but I knew neither of them were ready. (Both of mine were afraid of the vacuum too.) I talked with my dentist about it and he agreed with me. When I did take them around age 4, the hygienist only went as far as they felt comfortable. Then the next time she did a little more. My daughter didn't get a full exam and polish until her third visit at age 5. (Her very first visit consisted of her riding the chair up and down and the hygienist touching the little hook to her front teeth.) My son got a full exam and polish on his second visit at age 4 1/2. Now they are excited when they know they have an appointment, go in happily, and come out just as happy and they do not take anything at all. Their favorite part is the oversized sunglasses the hygienest has for them to wear to keep the overhead light from hurting their eyes. So far they have only had routine cleanings, so things may change if they have to have any work done.

The key for us was that the hygienist worked with us, we started where the kids felt comfortable and did a little more at each visit. By age 6, my daughter was getting a full exam, polish, xrays, and flouride treatments. I think if you start off by drugging her and forcing her through it, you're telling her that it's scary. I personally don't think a routine cleaning should be something to be afraid of and I don't think that it should just be assumed that she needs sedation. She has a lot more cleanings ahead of her.

I think if you find a dentist who is willing to work with you and you don't expect to get through a full exam the first time through, you'll have an easier time. Unless your daughter needs other work done, I wouldn't force it at least until she's older.

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