My pre-school aged daughter has a significant-sized cavity on one of her back molars. Her dentist suggested using Nitrous oxide to sedate her, in order to place a filling. On the day of the appointment, I was told I could not go into the room with her for the procedure. She is three! Furthermore, in those three years, she has never been sedated. When I questioned this, I was told it was office policy and there was no way around it. Therefore, I canceled her appointment. Is this a common policy? It seems ludicrous for a parent not to be allowed to accompany a three-year-old for a dental procedure, especially one which involves sedation.

Thank you,
Mindi

Dear Mindi,
The presence of a parent during a dental procedure is really the choice of the provider. Oftentimes, the nervousness or fear that a parent is experiencing during a dental procedure is very obvious to the child, and, therefore, wears off on the child. Parents may say things like, “squeeze Mommy’s hand if you’re scared, or if it hurts, ” thus, letting the child know that being scared of feeling pain is an option, when they otherwise may not know this. Sometimes, it is easier for everyone if the only person the child has to focus on is the dentist. This also allows the dentist to give your child and the procedure he or she is performing their sole focus, as opposed to focusing on the procedure, the patient, and you. Sedation dentistry is not any different than a medical procedure. If you were to take your child into a hospital for a surgical procedure, you would not be allowed in the operating room with him or her. This seems to be a policy that many dental providers have also adopted. Though, I am sure you can find a provider who will allow you into the procedure room with your child if you look further.

This post was written by the office of Vista Dorada Dental,Gilbert AZ, Dr. Matt Roper.