Pediatric Sedation Dentistry

Imagine your child undergoing a complex dental treatment like a root canal, extraction, or oral surgery. When treatment is complete, your child will have no recollection of the time it took, the pain, the noise, or the discomfort. We are pleased to offer your child the option of comfortable, safe, and effective sedation dentistry. Our pediatric dental patients who benefit from sedation dentistry have:

  • A fear or anxiety of being at the dentist
  • A hard time sitting still for long periods of time
  • A hard time getting (and staying) numb from anesthetics

What is sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry allows your pediatric dentist to provide a variety of dental treatments safely and comfortably for children who experience anxiety when visiting the dentist. There are several benefits to sedation dentistry, including:

  • No memory of undergoing the procedure
  • No sense of time while under sedation
  • No sense of smell or sound
  • No fear or anxiety during treatment

Levels of Sedation

Sedation dentistry is closely regulated by law, and there are three sedative states at which your child's dentist can administer treatment: mild sedation, moderate sedation, and deep sedation.

  • Mild Sedation — Anxiolysis is the lightest form of sedation dentistry and is often used for children with mild anxiety, longer procedures, or more complex situations. Mild sedation is usually administered orally. Your child will remain awake or very sleepy throughout the entire procedure and will be able to breathe normally, but he or she will feel a great sense of relaxation. Patients typically recover from anxiolysis sedation within a few hours after the procedure is complete. Nitrous oxide inhalation (laughing gas) is another form of mild to moderate sedation that results in relaxation during treatment.
  • Moderate Sedation — Used for patients with moderate dental anxiety and for patients who need longer or more complex procedures, conscious sedation often refers to the use of light IV sedation. With conscious sedation, your child will remain awake throughout the procedure, but will be in a deep state of relaxation.
  • Deep Sedation — Patients receiving deep sedation go between consciousness and unconsciousness during their dental procedure. Patients often have no recollection of the treatment and are unable to respond to commands even if they are awake at times during the procedure.

How are sedatives administered?

  • Inhalation — Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is the most frequently used method for easing mild to moderate anxiety. Recovery is quick so your child can resume normal activities immediately.
  • Oral — An extremely common technique for dental sedation is oral sedation. It is easy and does not require the use of needles. Your child will be given a prescription pill which, taken about an hour before the appointment, will have your child fully relaxed by the time you arrive at our office.

Please contact our practice to schedule a consultation, learn more about sedation dentistry, and find out which sedation dentistry method may be right for your child.

Nitrous Oxide

 

Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is the most frequently used method for easing mild to moderate anxiety in children. Administered through a small mask that fits over your child’s nose, it is an effective way to calm anxiety. Your child will be asked to breathe through his or her nose and not through their mouth. As the gas begins to work, your child will become calm, although he or she will still be awake and able to talk with the dentist.

At the end of your child’s appointment, he or she will resume breathing regular oxygen, and all the effects of nitrous oxide will disappear. As your child gets older and becomes more comfortable during dental visits, nitrous oxide may not be necessary.

Pediatric Hospital Dentistry

 

If your child cannot receive dental care in a traditional dental office, our practice offers gentle and effective dental care to infants, children, and adolescents in the nurturing environment of our local hospital. As a pediatric dentist in the area to offer this unique service, our pediatric dentist has the distinctive ability to understand the specific needs of children who need dental care but cannot cooperate for safe dental treatment. Through hospital dentistry, you can eliminate the struggles and trauma that can lead to a lifetime fear of dental treatment for your child.

Is hospital dentistry right for my child?

Pediatric hospital dentistry services are ideal for:

  • Physically, emotionally, or developmentally challenged children who are unable to hold still for dental treatment
  • Children that have a severe gag reflex
  • Children with complex medical conditions that make it unsafe to receive dental care in an office situation
  • Children who have allergies to local anesthetics or experience difficulty achieving numbness

For these situations, the use of general anesthesia may be the best option for your family.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia will put your child into a deep sleep. He or she will be unable to feel pain or move around. General anesthesia for dental procedures can be provided by an anesthesiologist or dental anesthesiologist. These professionals are trained to deliver medication, monitor your child during the procedure, and handle any complications that may occur.

To prepare your child for general anesthesia, follow the guidelines given to you by the doctor regarding food and fluid intake before and after the procedure. Discuss the procedure with your child using simple terms that he or she can understand. Let your child rest quietly at home after the procedure. He or she will probably be ready to resume their normal schedule the next day.