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Q: My 5-year old son is going to have caps put on his molars. The dentist is planning to give him chloral hydrate and Vistaril. In addition, he plans on using novocaine and nitrous oxide. Is there any danger in mixing all of these drugs?
July 29, 2014

The first two drugs are used to sedate children. It is not uncommon for a dentist to use these with a young child, in addition to a local anesthetic and nitrous oxide.

I can understand your concern regarding the use of sedatives. It is always difficult for a parent not to worry about the safety of a child. However, your son is young and requires extensive dental procedures. His dentist has decided to use sedative medication. This helps the dentist to complete the treatment with the least amount of trauma to your son. The dentist has chosen a group of medications with a wide margin of safety. These medicines will help to control anxiety and minimize pain and discomfort.

Any time you sedate someone, there are risks. However, those risks can be minimized by taking the following steps:

  • The dentist should take a comprehensive medical history on the child.
  • He or she should use the least amount of medicine to successfully accomplish the treatment.
  • The dentist should monitor and record the child's vital signs (heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure and temperature) before, during and after the sedation.
  • The dentist should have appropriate training to handle any emergency. The office should have appropriate drugs and oxygen readily available, in case they are needed.
  • As the parent, you must follow all of the directions that the dentist gives you. These include instructions about the child's diet the day before and the day of the procedure.

If all these steps are taken, your son can be safely sedated.

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