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What HealthPartners is doing to make dental visits safe for kids

Pediatric dentist talks responsible use of anesthesia and sedation


By Paul Musherure, DDS
August 8, 2017

     


Whenever someone needs to receive sedation for a dental surgery or procedure, risks are involved. And when your child is the one sitting in the chair, these risks become especially real. As both a father and pediatric dentist, I understand these concerns. That’s why my team and I work hard to make each and every HealthPartners dental visit a safe one. Here’s what we do that’s key:

Analyzing each situation thoroughly

Throughout the course of a single day, I might see several patients who need sedation. But the reasons patients need it vary widely. My colleagues and I know how important it is to choose the right sedative (and amount) for the right situation.

When it comes to simple procedures, such as a cavity filling, our HealthPartners Dental Clinics provide only conscious sedation for kids. This is in the form of nitrous oxide (laughing gas).

There are more serious instances when a child might need deep sedation or general anesthesia, though. Wisdom teeth removal is one example of this. And in these cases, the pediatric dentist and parents always make this choice together. We believe that it’s crucial for us to be on the same page as the family.

Having the right staff

I have so much appreciation for the ongoing training that HealthPartners gives our staff. Each and every one of our clinics has an annual training. And each year we have a variety of situations thrown at us – from fainting to cardiac arrest. These opportunities give us a chance to learn and teach the rest of our staff the best ways to handle each situation. I think the best way to prevent dangerous situations is being prepared. And that’s what we try to do.

In addition to having well-trained staff, we believe in having the right people in the room during each procedure. At least one anesthesiologist monitors each procedure, with a nurse anesthetist on hand as well.

Recovering safely

Having a full recovery is just as important as having a successful surgery. With this in mind, when your child is in the surgery center, a nurse is by their side at all times. Medical doctors are also on hand in case of an emergency. Once your child returns home, you can expect a call from a nurse the next day to check in on the recovery process. We want to be there help you out, and this is a great time to voice any concerns you may have.

Preparing for the appointment

Depending on your child’s procedure, preparation instructions will vary. To help make your child’s appointment go as smoothly as possible, follow these general tips:

  • Read through all of the before surgery information you receive.
  • Be aware of and follow any food restrictions the procedure requires.
  • Dress your child in loose fitting, comfortable clothes.
  • Plan to stay with and watch your child for the entire day.

About Paul Musherure, DDS

Dr. Paul Musherure is Board Certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. He practices out of our HealthPartners Dental Specialty Center in Lake Elmo and our HealthPartners Dental Clinic in St. Paul. He is a member of 6 dental associations, including the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association. Dr. Musherure says pediatric dentistry provides the chance to shape a child into a good dental patient, and because of that he finds his work very rewarding. Outside the office, he keeps busy with family, church and volunteer activities. He loves spending time with his wife and watching his children grow.

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