Pediatric Sedation Instructions

Instructions to Follow Before Your Child’s Sedation

Safety of your child is the utmost importance at Smile Stars Pediatric Dentistry. In order to provide your child with a safe and effective sedation experience, you must carefully follow every instruction listed below. We sincerely employ your cooperation to achieve this mutual goal.

Be calm, confident and knowledgeable

You, as parent/legal guardian, play a key role in your child’s dental care. Children often perceive a parent’s anxiety which makes them more fearful. They tolerate procedures best when their parents understand what to expect and are calm and confident. If you have any questions about the sedation process, please ask; we are happy to answer any questions that you may have. As you become more calm and confident about dentistry, so will your child.

Notify health changes

Please notify our office of any change in your child’s health and/or medical condition. Fever, ear infection, nasal or chest congestion, or recent head trauma could place your child at increased risk for complications. Should your child become ill just prior to a sedation appointment, contact our office to see if it is necessary to postpone the sedation.

Notify medications

Tell us about any prescribed, over-the-counter, or herbal medications your child is taking and report any allergies or reactions to  medications that your child has experienced. Check with us to see if routine medications should be taken the day of the sedation.

Fasting - no food and liquids

Food and liquids must be restricted in the hours prior to sedation. Fasting decreases the risk of vomiting and aspirating stomach contents into the lungs, a potentially life-threatening problem. We will not proceed with the sedation if you do not comply with the following requirements. Let everyone in the home know about the fasting requirements, because siblings and others often unknowingly feed the child.

Minimum Time of Fasting Prior to appointment is 6 hours – The last meal before the appointment should be light. Fried foods, fatty foods, and meat should be avoided. Clear liquids should be avoided two hours prior to the appointment.

Loose clothing

Dress your child in loose fitting, comfortable clothing. No jewelry, hair accessories, or nail polish. This will allow us to place monitors that evaluate your child’s response to the medications and help ensure your child’s safety. These monitors may measure effects on your child’s breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure.

One or more parent for each child

Try not to bring other children to this appointment so you can focus your attention on your child undergoing the sedation.

Arrive on time

It is VERY important that you arrive on time to your appointment. The scheduled time includes the time required for the sedation medication to take effect. A calm, orderly day would provide the best chance for quality sedation. Any rushing, either by you or us would jeopardize the chance of success.


Your child cannot go to school or daycare and should be transported home immediately after treatment. Use a properly fitted car seat, booster seat or other car restraint device that includes the seatbelt. Ensure the correct upright posture of your child on the trip home. Watch child to make sure of no self-inflicted injury. If possible, you should be accompanied by an additional adult to ensure that your child is monitored closely, as he/she will be very drowsy. Once home, your child will still be drowsy and must remain under adult supervision until fully recovered from the effects of the sedation. If your child wants to sleep, position your child on his/her side with the head supported and the chin up.

Limit activities

Your child may be drowsy for some time after the sedative appointment. Restrict activities for the remainder of the day. Prohibit potentially harmful activities such as bike riding, swimming, using playground equipment, or any activity where balance is important.

Numbness – CAUTION!

In addition to the sedative medications, we use local anesthetic to numb the mouth during dental treatment. The numbness usually lasts 2-4 hours. Watch to see that your child does not bite, scratch, or injure the cheek, lips, or tongue during this time. If your child does it is normal within 48 hours for swelling to occur inside the mouth as well as the lips. This can be treated with popsicles or a cold compress.


Children may be irritable after treatment. If this occurs, stay with your child and provide a calm environment. If you believe the irritability is caused by discomfort, you may give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®). Follow the instructions on the bottle for dosing based upon your child’s age/weight.

When/what to eat?

Once your child is alert, you may give him/her sips of clear liquids to prevent nausea and dehydration. Small drinks taken repeatedly are preferable to large amounts. The first meal should be something light and easily digestible (ex: soup, Jell-O®, apple sauce). Do not give fatty or spicy foods (ex: French fries, tacos, salsa, milk, cheese or yogurt).


YOU MUST BRUSH YOUR CHILD’S TEETH 2-3 TIMES DAILY INCLUDING THE DAY OF TREATMENT! Your child’s mouth may be sensitive, and bleeding will most likely occur, but this is normal and will subside with time and regular cleaning. NOT BRUSHING WILL SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF DISCOMFORT AND INFLAMMATION!


Nausea and vomiting are occasional side effects of sedation. If vomiting occurs, immediately clear the material from your child’s mouth. If vomiting persists for more than four hours, please call our office (843)208-2888.


A slight fever (temperature to 100.5°F) is not uncommon after sedation. You may give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®). Follow the instructions on the bottle for dosing based upon your child’s age/weight. Because dehydration may cause a slight increase in temperature, clear fluids may help correct this condition. If a higher fever develops or the fever persists, call our office (843) 208 – 2888.

Please keep in mind that your child has been through a dental procedure, and your child can be irritable, cranky, tired, groggy, and uncoordinated. Your child may also complain of an itchy mouth and nose. This is all normal. Try to keep your child’s mind off of the dental treatment and on positive things. The less your child talks about the procedure, the less your child will remember

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