Submitted by Farid Amer-Ouali DMD, FRCD(C) Chirurgien maxillo-facial on

By Farid Amer-Ouali DMD, FRCD(C) Chirurgien maxillo-facial

As professionals, we are able to witness the positive impact that conscious sedation can have on a child. It allows dental treatment, whether simple or complex, to be carried out while minimizing the physiological and psychological trauma of the young patient. It also improves comfort for the child and that of the professional resulting in a better clinical experience.

The option of conscious sedation is most often discussed before treatment, prior to starting any procedure. Safety is parents' main consideration when it comes to their child receiving dental sedation. So, presenting the risks and benefits associated with this therapeutic adjuvant while discussing its safety will help make parents allies in the care of the young and fearful patient.

Here are some tips to proper introduce conscious sedation with parents:

1. Create bond with the child

The presence of the dentist in the operating room is often a source of anxiety for both parents and the child! It is therefore essential that you work to build a rapport. A positive relationship includes eye contact and getting down to the child's level. Devote your full attention to them and take the time to get to know them. Build a friendship and talk about subjects that are not dentistry related.

2. Isolate the parents during the discussion

When comes the time to discuss treatment options after the initial examination, it's important to have the conversation away from the child. Leave them with the assistant, tell them you'll be back with a surprise, or simply set them up with a video while you leave the room with the parents.

3. Confirming full understanding of parents

Take the time to fully explain the recommended treatment to the parent. Don't be afraid to depict the reality of the treatment: explain that with some children everything goes smoothly while with others, for reasons beyond our control, this may turn out to be more challenging. Establish a common goal, that of having a smooth appointment.

Take the time to fully explain the concept of sedation, the different levels, and your recommendation for their child's situation. Use appropriate vocabulary but in terms easy for parents to understand ("It is a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide administered in a monitored setting to ensure his safety and comfort as this provides a relaxing effect for your child").

Parents who have a better understanding of what will happen during treatment and help prepare the child will result in the best possible experience.

4. Always stay positive, optimistic and confident

Good communication is a key factor in improving outcomes. When you and the parents are able to make treatment decisions for the child together, you are in a better position to manage expectations.

5. Show empathy

The choices and options you offer are for the benefit of the child. The empathy and understanding that you demonstrate towards the parent's and the situation allows you to deliver more personalized patient care. Your role is to guide parents in their decision-making for the best patient outcome. As parents can help reduce the stress levels for their child before, during and after the treatment.

6. Gain the child's trust

Do not hesitate to ask for help from the parents: it is capital, that the child is able to trust you. With the parent's support, you will increase the cooperation of the child during treatment.

To attend a training session on conscious sedation, we invite you to register your team for the training: https://www.idi.org/257-formation-sedation-consciente.html

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