Theriot Family Dental

Preparing a Special Needs Child for Dental Sedation

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I have a fifteen year old non-verbal daughter that I will be taking to the dentist. I decided using dental sedation would be the best way to handle this. However, even though she cannot communicate normally, she does understand significantly more than people think. I don’t want her worried about her appointment the morning of. She’s got enough stress on her plate. Are there ways to prepare her ahead of time?


Dear Catherine,

Woman resting in the dental chair while using dental sedation

You have a lot on your plate as well and I can tell that you are a conscientious mother. The first thing I want you to do is to take a deep breath. Dental sedation is perfect for situations such as your daughter’s. I am assuming that you are using oral conscious sedation. The most important thing you can do is make sure you communicate well with her dentist. This will include making sure that he or she knows about all medications your daughter takes. This would include over-the-counter medications as well. This prevents the possibility of medicinal interactions.

Second, don’t make a big deal out of the appointment. Sometimes when parents are trying to explain things in detail the children get the idea that YOU are nervous, which in turn makes them nervous. If you act like it is routine then it is more likely that she will too. You can show her pictures of the office if she’s never been there, or take her in to meet the staff if you think that will help her. You know your daughter best. This type of sedation is administered by pill so if she has trouble swallowing pills, let your dentist know.

Finally, it is perfectly okay to bring comfort items with you to the appointment. If she has a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, let her take those with her. She’ll be much more comfortable with something familiar around her.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. John Theriot.