Why can’t I be with my daughter during a sedation procedure?

We recently found out our young daughter needs to have a couple of fillings. She’s four and is kind of antsy in the dental chair so our pediatric dentist wants to sedate her. I’m not opposed to it, but as her mom, I’d like to be in the exam room with her the whole time. The dental assistant said that’s not allowed by the doctor. This is really very important to me I’m wondering if I should be more demanding about it or just take her somewhere else? What are the chances the doctor will make an exception to the rule? — Sara

Dear Sara,
I’m sure the assistant is just reiterating the office policy. You have a right to disagree with the guidelines and if you have questions about it, ask to speak personally with the dentist. If it’s a strict office rule, there may not be anything you can say that will sway him or her to make an exception, but it doesn’t hurt to discuss your feelings. As a pediatric dentist, they are likely basing policies on their experiences with the many young patients they have treated in the past. Often, doctors don’t allow parents to come back at all because it can sometimes make a child more fearful and even interfere with the procedure. It’s clear that you probably have the best of intentions; but even as adults, we can react in ways we don’t expect – especially when it comes to our kids!

If it makes you feel any better, your daughter will never be alone during the procedure. Sedation requires someone to monitor the patient at all times. Maybe they will at least let you be with her until they are ready to sedate her. If not, be sure you ask all the questions you need in regards to what will happen at every stage of treatment, safety protocol, etc. Hopefully that will make you feel comfortable enough to wait outside, knowing she’s in good hands. If you’re not willing to budge on your expectations then you’ll probably want to find a new doctor who can comply with your wishes.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Alana Macalik. For more information on the services she provides, visit her Arlington cosmetic dentist website.