Most of the time, kids do very well with a little local anesthesia and we can complete most of their work with no trouble at all. However there are, on occasion, some children who remain highly fearful about any doctor visit, no matter what we do. Other kids have so much trouble sitting still that we can’t do the work that is necessary. Still other little ones need so much work, it cannot be completed in one or two visits. Special needs kids may also need a little extra support to manage their dental care. These are times when sedation dentistry can be very helpful.
If your child cannot receive the care he or she needs because of fear or refusal, sedation can be a wonderful alternative. Sedation dentistry can let us gently help even the most fearful child get all the care they need for the healthy, strong, and long-lasting smile they deserve.
While not all children will need sedation dentistry, some children can really benefit from the soothing and calming effects. Sedation helps very young, fidgety, or special needs children receive more thorough and precise treatment while reducing their risk for injury.
The greatest benefits are observed in children who:
Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide works as a mild sedative. The gas is administered with a mixture of oxygen and has a calming effect that helps patients with dental anxiety or a phobia to relax during their dental treatment. Patients remain awake and can talk to their parent or dentist. Toward the end of treatment, the nitrous oxide is turned off and oxygen is administered for five to ten minutes to help flush any remaining gas out of your child’s system. This oxygen flush causes the sedative effect to wear off almost immediately. Nitrous oxide rarely has side effects, although some patients may experience minor nausea.
We have board certified anesthesiologists on staff to administer gentle sedation to your child. This special training allows us to safely and comfortably provide IV sedation to very young children, those who need an extended amount of work, or kids with special needs.
IV sedation is more complete than nitrous oxide and administered according to your child’s weight. Your child will be closely observed at all times using an EKG, pulse oximeter, and blood pressure monitor. Because the sedative qualities are more pronounced, we will ask you to continue to monitor your child at home and limit activities especially those that require coordination.