As a parent, trying to find a great general dentist for yourself can take some research. Trying to find a great pediatric dentist for your child takes even more thorough research, a deeper inspection of reviews, and lots of trust in others.
Dr. Jason Lee, a pediatric dentist at Rodeo Dental & Orthodontics, said his interest in pursuing dentistry came from growing up with an excellent pediatric dentist who created an environment where he looked forward to going to each visit.
For nearly 20 years now, Lee has practiced dental care for children and has sought to find a practice that not only allowed kids to be more comfortable at the dentist, but one that made them eager to come back. In 2017, Lee joined the Rodeo Dental family and has since aimed to provide the same exciting and comforting experience for his patients as he received in childhood. Lee’s love for his work at Rodeo Dental exceeds the company’s collaborative culture and energetic environment they’re known for. He says Rodeo Dental’s patient-centric core values and mission to give every family and child the key to access high-end dental care aligns directly with how he approaches his specialty.
Lee shared some insights as to what parents can expect if their child needs treatment and the safety measures Rodeo Dental provides in order to ensure parent and child trust.
What exactly is a pediatric dentist, and what do they do to earn that specialty title?
A pediatric dentist is a specialist dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy to teen. To become a pediatric dentist, (we spend) four years of dental school, (and) two years in residency. During that residency, we rotate through various medical specialties, such as anesthesiology, pediatric medicine, hematology, oncology, and emergency medicine.
Why would a child need to be sedated?
Children that are anxious or nervous about treatment respond (to sedation) well because the sedative medication we use here at Rodeo is also classified as an anxiolytic; it helps with anxiety. Sometimes we have (cooperative children), but they’ve got a lot of work (that needs) to be done. The sedation appointment helps them to be able to sit in the chair, and time seems to pass faster for them. Sometimes we have children (with) certain conditions where they (may) have involuntary muscle movements that could interfere with the treatment. (There are) lots of different reasons.
How do you know how much medication to administer to a child?
There are people that will calculate the medication on the child’s age … but the weight is the most appropriate way to go because not all 5-year-olds weigh the same. So we go off their weight, and we adhere to the (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) and the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. We don’t exceed the maximum dosage on these children. We don’t sedate children under (the age of) 2. We don’t sedate children that have conditions that could conflict with sedation. We always follow the manufacturer’s suggested guidelines, also.
What can happen to a child if these guidelines aren’t followed?
Complications are always possible in any medical treatment or dental treatment. Any time we inject any medication, (there are) always risks involved. However, if we conduct a proper (check on medical) history and look for conditions … (almost) all serious complications are avoided. There are still some complications involved, and the most common one we see is slight drowsiness afterward. The child (may) have a hard time staying awake, or we see a child that may feel a little bit nauseous. We also see children that have what’s called a paradoxical effect. We give them a sedative that’s supposed to make them drowsy, sleepy, and sedate them, but it does the opposite; it makes them excited. That’s not dangerous at all, but the paradoxical effect can sometimes be a challenge when you’re expected to go into a room and see a (child) that’s sleepy … and you see (the child) doing handstands.
What should parents expect when their child is going to be sedated for treatment?
They’ll get a call the night before, and they’ll get some instructions. It’s best for the child to not eat anything after or before bedtime but for sure nothing after midnight. (Then), wake up the (next) morning, (come to the office), (and) we’d like them to wear comfortable clothes (when coming to their appointment). The (parents) should show up to the appointment five to 10 minutes early. We do a medical history, take blood pressure, (and) the respiratory temperature. And then (the parents) should expect the doctor to come in and speak with (them) and explain what we’re planning to do (for) treatment and sedation. Then, (a parent gets) to sit with (their child) for 10 to 15 minutes while the (sedative) takes effect; they should expect to have a staff member (with) a wheelchair to take (their child) to the treatment room. The treatment phase will take about 10, 20, 30 minutes max. After that, we bring the child to the recovery area, and we’ll monitor them for another five to 10 minutes. Then, we take the child to the parent. They’ll get some post-operative instructions. After everything has been explained, (parents will) have a chance to ask questions and have (them) answered. We’ll take the child in the wheelchair to the car, (and) help them put the child in the car. It’s important to get the parents involved; we want them to be involved in their (child’s) treatment. We make a treatment plan in conjunction with the parents.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention or add?
I will say that of all the places I’ve worked (at), I’ve been doing pediatric dentistry for almost 20 years, Rodeo (puts) safety first. We are pioneering and leading safety. We have a dental anesthesiologist that’s on staff. He does training with the staff (on) medical (emergencies). We train the staff above and beyond what they need to know; they practice simulating these things. We have monthly meetings with all the pediatric dentistry staff where we discuss safety issues. (We) practice giving IVs, (and) intubating the patient … (during) these monthly meetings. I want everybody to know that safety is the primary goal for Rodeo Dental and Orthodontics.