Many kids sedated at dentist sleep on way home

Posted at: 07/14/2013 10:42 AM
By: Mike Anderson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

 NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A preliminary study with a small sampling group indicates children who need sedation for routine dental work should have an adult passenger with them on the ride home to ensure their heads don't slump onto their chests.

Priyanshi Ritwik, associate professor of pediatric dentistry at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, said half of the children in the group slept in the car on the way home.

Because they're typically sitting up, children who sleep in cars tend to drop their heads until their chins touch their chests, Ritwik said.

She said a child's slumped head squeezes air passages.

"It closes their airways," she said. "Probably a non-sedated child will move the head to open it back up. But in a sedated child we don't know how able they are to do that."

For that reason, Ritwik said, an adult should be with the child to reposition the child's head if the sedated child falls asleep.

The study covered 46 children ranging from 2  to 9  years old.

The average age was 5  to 6.

The children in the pilot study needed sedation because they were "too anxious, too fearful, and sometimes too combative for quality dental care," Ritwik said.

The study was designed to compare the effects of two sedatives after children leave clinics.

But the choice was left to the doctor, and 40 of the children were given the same kind.

No good comparison was possible and the researchers say more study is needed.

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