If your child is in need of extensive dental work, or suffers from severe dental anxiety, sedation dentistry may be the way to go. With sedation dentistry, your child will be able to sleep through the procedure, which will alleviate the anxiety associated with dental work. Here are four steps you should take to prepare your child for sedation.

Explain the Procedure

Prior to your child's dental appointment, you should sit them down and explain the procedure to them. Sedation can be confusing to children, especially if they're going to be undergoing conscious sedation – a process where they'll be awake, but won't feel any of the pain associated with the procedure. If your child has questions that you can't answer, schedule an appointment with the dentist prior to the appointment so that their questions can be answered.

Watch for Signs of Illness

If your child is sick on the day of the procedure, you'll need to tell the dentist. Prior to their appointment, watch your child for signs of illness. Some of the things you should watch for include fevers or coughs. If your child gets sick, you should have them examined by their physician. It's also important that you notify their dentist as soon as you can.

Make Sure They're Comfortable

On the day of your child's appointment, be sure to dress your child comfortably. If the appointment is early in the day, consider allowing them to remain in their pajamas. This will ensure that they're able to relax in the dental chair. If your child is old enough, bring headphones and an electronic device that will play either music or movies. Your child will be able to relax under sedation, and the headphones will quiet the sounds from the dental equipment.

Prepare for Recovery

After the procedure, your child will need some time to recover from the sedation, and the dental work. Before you leave for the dentist's office, set up a place on the couch for your child to rest once you get home. Prepare an ice pack that you'll be able to use to alleviate the swelling that your child will experience. You can make ice packs by placing two cups of water, and one cup of rubbing alcohol in a resealable plastic baggie. You can also add a few drops of food coloring to the baggie. Place the baggie in the freezer and leave it there until you need it.

If your child will be undergoing sedation, use the tips provided here to ensure a relaxed and safe procedure. If you have questions and concerns regarding sedation dentistry, be sure to speak to your dentist.