Sedation Dentistry

Conscious Sedation

Conscious sedation is recommended for apprehensive children, very young children and children with special needs. It is used to calm your child and to reduce anxiety or discomfort associated with dental treatments. The sights, sounds and tastes associated with dentistry and fear of pain can elicit very negative reaction. Multiple office visits can also elicit stress and anxiety in young children, especially if they have never had treatment completed before. After receiving conscious sedation, your child may be quiet drowsy and may even fall asleep, but they will not become unconscious.

There are a variety of different medications administered in a variety of different ways, which can be utilized for conscious sedation. The medication, which is best-suited for your child’s overall health and dental treatment will be prescribed.

Prior to your child’s appointment:

  • Please notify use of any changes in your child’s health and/or medical condition. Do not bring your child for treatment if they have an ear infection, fever or cold. Please notify the office to see if it is necessary to postpone the appointment if you child becomes ill.
  • Please let us know of any drugs that your child is currently taking (prescribed, over-the-counter or herbal medications) and any drug interaction and/or change in medical history.
  • Please dress your child in loose fitting, comfortable clothing.
  • Please take your child to the restroom before the medication is administered.
  • Your child should not have anything to eat or drink after midnight the night before their morning appointment. Water may be given up three hours prior to treatment time.
  • The child’s parent or legal guardian must remain at the office during the complete procedure. It is strongly recommended that a second responsible adult join you at the time of discharge from the office if possible.
  • Please watch your child closely while the medication is taking effect. Hold them in your lap or on your knee and keep them close to you. Do not let them run around.
  • Your child will act drowsy and may become slightly excited at first.

After the sedation appointment:

  • Your child will be drowsy and may not be able to walk well and will need to be monitored very closely. Keep your child away from areas of potential harm. We suggest that you carry your child to the car.
  • If your child wants to sleep, place him or her on their side with their chin up. Periodically check your child to make sure he/she is easily arousable and encourage them to have something to drink to prevent dehydration. At first it is best to give your child sips of clear liquids (water, apple juice, Pedialyte, Gatorade). If they are able to keep those down without vomiting for 30 minutes, you should be able to feed them something light and easily digestible (soup, broth, Jello, pudding, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese).
  • If your child vomits, help them bend over and turn their head to the side to insure they do not inhale the vomit.
  • Because we use local anesthetic to numb your child’s mouth during the procedure, your child may have the tendency to chew their lips, cheeks and/or tongues and/or rub and scratch their face after treatment. Please observe your child carefully to prevent any injury to these areas.
  • Please call our office for any questions or concerns that you might have.

Nitrous Oxide

Some children are given Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen or what is sometimes called ‘laughing gas’ to relax them for dental treatment. The goals of Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen inhalation include reducing or eliminating anxiety, enhancing patient communication and cooperation, increasing tolerance for longer appointment, reducing gagging and aiding in treatment of mentally/physically disabled or medically compromised patients.

Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen is a blend of two gasses, Oxygen and Nitrous Oxide. It is administered with a small breathing mask (scented with bubblegum, grape or strawberry fragrances), which is placed over the child’s nose, allowing them to relax without putting them to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognizes this technique as a very safe, effective technique to use for treating children’s dental needs. The gas is colorless, basically odorless and easily taken by breathing normally. It is quickly eliminated from the body. It is non-addictive. While inhaling this gas your child remains fully conscious and maintains all natural reflexes. Prior to your child’s appointment:

  • Please inform us of any change to your child’s health and/or medical condition.
  • Tell us about any respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult for your child. It may limit the effectiveness of the Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen.
  • Let us know if your child is taking any medication on the day of the appointment. This includes prescribed, over-the-counter or herbal medication.
  • Your child should not have anything to eat or drink 2 hours prior to their appointment.