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Is Oral Surgery Sedation Safe for Kids?

If your child needs oral surgery, sedation will likely be necessary. With children, sedation serves several purposes — it not only relieves pain and eases anxiety, but also tempers their behavior to enable the safe completion of a surgical procedure.

But for parents, the thought of sedating a child can be downright unnerving.

You’ll be relieved to know that oral surgery sedation is safe for kids — as long as an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon with dedicated anesthesia training administers the sedation.

Oral surgery sedation for kids

Keeping Kids Safe During Oral Surgery Procedures

Here at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, we follow the guidelines for safe sedation recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). This includes:

  • Completing a thorough health evaluation prior to the procedure
  • Using a strict procedure protocol to ensure no safety step is forgotten
  • Administering the lowest possible dose of sedation for the surgery
  • Assigning a qualified person the primary task of closely monitoring the child
  • Making sure a properly equipped emergency cart is immediately accessible
  • Documenting every step of the sedation process

Safe Oral Surgery Sedation Options for Kids

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons have the skill, qualifications and training to safely administer all forms of sedation. With children, the most commonly used options are:

Oral sedation — an anti-anxiety medication taken in pill form prior to the procedure

Laughing gas — a sedative agent (nitrous oxide) inhaled through a breathing mask

Twilight sleep — anesthesia delivered through an intravenous (IV) line

These mild forms of sedation help keep children calm and comfortable during surgery, without making them unconscious. All are safe choices that carry little risk of complications in the hands of a qualified professional.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons also provide general anesthesia for children undergoing complex or lengthy procedures. For safety purposes, however, surgeons complete procedures that require general anesthesia at a local hospital or surgical center.

Choosing the Right Oral Surgery Sedation for Your Child

When deciding on the right form of sedation for your child, oral and maxillofacial surgeons consider age, medical history, anxiety level, procedure complexity, and several other factors. You’ll also have input on the decision — you know your child better than anyone, so your opinion matters.

Ultimately, the type and amount of anesthesia will be specifically tailored to meet your child’s needs while providing the lowest risk of adverse effects. And you, the parent, play a key role in following the surgeon’s pre-sedation instructions and remaining calm and encouraging. These help your child have a positive experience.

At Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, we understand your concerns about the safety of sedating your child for oral surgery, and we welcome your questions. We want you to have the peace of mind of knowing that your child is receiving safe, stress-free treatment.

With three convenient northern Utah locations in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah provides expert care to patients of all ages. If you live in the greater Salt Lake City area, contact us and schedule a consultation to discuss oral surgery sedation today.


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