Pre-Operative Sedation Instructions for Children

As parents, you play an important role in developing your child’s attitude toward dental care.  One of the greatest things you can do for your child in this respect is to have a positive attitude toward their visit, and help them to view their appointment in a positive manner, and as an opportunity to meet new people who want to help them stay happy and healthy!

For your child’s safety and comfort, it is imperative that you follow these instructions carefully.

Eating and Drinking

Your child must NOT have anything to eat, including non-human milk, 8 hours before their appointment. For nursing mothers NO breast milk for 4 hours before the appointment.  Your child may have clear fluids (water, apple juice, Gatorade, ginger ale or Sprite ONLY) up to 2 hours before their appointment.  Studies show that preventing pain prior to treatment, as well as during, results in less pain afterward.  I recommend giving your child non-prescription acetaminophen (Tylenol/Tempra) or ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) syrup for children up to 3 hours before their appointment. 

Changes in Health

Please call and speak to one of our registered nurses about any changes in your child’s health such as fever, repeated vomiting or asthma within 7 days before your appointment. If your child develops a cold within 5 days before their appointment, call our office immediately.  If a cold is mild and there is no cough (just the ‘sniffles’), often the appointment does not need to be changed. There are so many children waiting for appointments, so it’s important that we have sufficient notice to make any changes in regard to scheduling.  As you know, there are many things parents must rearrange, such as childcare and work schedules, to be able to come in for an earlier appointment- as much notice as possible is helpful.


We love children, but we ask that you make childcare arrangements for any siblings during your child’s appointment.  In addition to the fact that it would be a long day for any siblings, your child will need your undivided attention and supervision before and after their treatment.  Please brush and floss your child’s teeth before the appointment, and bring a change of clothing, especially underwear or a diaper, since occasionally some children empty their bladder while asleep or upon waking up. Young children can be prepared for their appointment by being ready for sleep; wearing pajamas (no ‘onesies’, please!) and bringing a favorite bedtime item such as a blanket or stuffed toy is often helpful.  We will need a short-sleeved t-shirt under any clothes to be able to properly monitor your child.  As well, please avoid dressing your child in tights/leotards for girls, and one-piece pajamas (‘onesies’) for babies and toddlers.  Arms and legs must be easily accessible to monitor your child throughout their treatment.  After arriving at the office, encourage your child use the washroom or change their diaper.

Plan to spend at least 4-6 hours in our office.  Arrive on time for your child’s appointment, but be prepared to entertain your child while waiting- we appreciate that can be a challenge when your child is hungry!  Bringing a favorite toy, book or quiet game is a good idea. 

We have scheduled a considerable amount of preparation and pre-medication time for your child before they are brought into their treatment room.  Sometimes, treating children compassionately is unpredictable; different children require different amounts of time and amounts of medication before we can actively start treatment.  Some children may require more than one drink of medication and as each dose needs time to work, this means your child or an earlier patient can sometimes cause a delay in our schedule. We work hard to do our very best for every patient as we will for your child, and sometimes this extra effort means taking a little extra time.  By being patient and understanding, you’re helping us in our efforts to provide your child with the best care possible.  

In my experience, most uncooperative children are this way mainly because they are anxious or experiencing pain. My "special drink" of cola or juice with Tylenol syrup that contains medication serves to allay anxiety, block pain and interrupts memory for about one hour.

Often your child will require a second or even third dose of this pre-medication to achieve the desired effect of relaxation, drowsiness and forgetfulness at just the right time. If your child is older, we may ask them to chew and swallow a very small tablet to achieve the same effects. We may also place a cream on the back of their hand to numb the skin so they won't feel the IVinjection there. Occasionally any or all of these medications can make your child a little more active at first but eventually, or with another dose, they will become calm, relaxed, happy and sleepy.

As your child’s accompaniment, you must remain with your child at all times before and after treatment.  It is your responsibility to ensure your child does not fall or injure himself/herself.  While medicated, your child will feel ‘strange’ and won’t have his or her usual control over their movements and could easy fall.

At Dentistry Asleep®,Dr. Kevin Dann offers dental hygiene services, routine dental care for adults and children, periodontal and endodontic therapy,  cosmetic dental procedures and dental implants. Dr. Dann is one of the few Certified Specialists in Dental Anaesthesia, giving complete, comfortable care to all his valued patients. Enjoy experienced, anxiety-free dental healthcare!  Make your appointment now!