I was so disappointed to hear that my two year old had a big cavity on one of his back teeth. It was only his second trip to the pediatric dentist. I was surprised to hear they want to use nitrous oxide to help him relax when we bring him back in for the filling. If it helps my son, I’m willing to do it. But I’m still very nervous. When I scheduled the appointment they told me that I couldn’t go back with my son during the treatment. They told me it was their standard policy when using sedation dentistry. Why can’t I go in with him? This is only going to make me more of a nervous wreck. Do you think I should take him elsewhere?
-Becky in Washington
It really is up to each pediatric dentist to set their policies. But it is not uncommon, if that gives you any comfort. Realistically, the dentist will probably not force you to stay in the reception area. That said, you need to consider the reasoning they have these policies in place and what is really best for your son. When a parent is anxious about what is happening during treatment, it can unconsciously transfer over to the child. They may react when seeing your uncertainty much more dramatically then if they were with only the staff. Saying something like, “it’s not going to hurt, but squeeze my hand if you need to,” can do much more harm than good.
Nitrous is a mild form of sedation dentistry that is completely safe for children. Also, think about the fact that if your child required a procedure at the hospital that required anesthesia, you wouldn’t be allowed be with the doctor. If you are absolutely uncomfortable, you can talk more to your pediatric dentist about it. Or you can try another dentist. But it may be best in the long run to allow your current dentist to treat your child without you accompanying him. You are always right outside in the waiting room if you are needed.
This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.