We are licensed to administer in-office, conscious sedation. Sedation dentistry refers to the use of sedation during dental treatment. Sedation is most commonly used during extensive procedures, for patients with dental phobia or for patients who find it difficult to sit still. There are different types of sedation, including inhaled sedation ("laughing gas"), IV sedation, oral sedatives and general anesthetic.
Sedation can range from the use of laughing gas to calm a patient to general anesthetics used to put patients to sleep. Patients with dental phobia, low pain tolerance, major dental treatment, physical handicaps or strong gag reflexes may require sedation. Procedures like fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, extractions, cosmetic procedures and periodontal treatments often require sedation.
Sedation is endorsed by the American Dental Association and is an effective way to make many patients comfortable during their dental visit. Before using a sedative or anesthetic, it is important to tell us about any medications or medical treatments your child is receiving. Before administering any sedative or anesthetic, we will talk to you about the process and provide pre- and post-sedation instructions.
We offer 3 types of sedation, used only when necessary.
Inhaled sedation, more commonly known as laughing gas, is often used as a conscious sedative during a dental visit. The gas is administered with a mixture of oxygen and has a calming effect that helps phobic or anxious patients relax during their dental treatment. Because it is a mild sedative, patients are still conscious and can talk to their dentist during their visit. After treatment, the gas is turned off and oxygen is administered for five to 10 minutes to help flush any remaining gas. The effects wear off almost immediately. This sedation option rarely has side effects, although some patients may experience minor nausea and constipation. Your doctor will provide you with pre- and post-sedation instructions.
Oral (by mouth) Sedation
Children who are more anxious may need a stronger medication, which is given orally. When choosing a medicine, we will consider your child's:
- Anxiety level
- Ability to cooperate
With oral sedation, your child may be sleepy but can be aroused. He or she can also respond to simple commands. Minor side effects such as nausea or vomiting can occur with some oral sedation medications. You may need to carry your child home after oral sedation.
Before a visit where your child will receive oral sedation, you should receive instructions, including:
- Whether to eat or drink before the procedure
- What to expect during treatment
- What to watch for after treatment
We will discuss how your child will be monitored during sedation. You will need to stay for a short time after the dental treatment has been completed. During this time, we will observe your child to make sure recovery is complete and watch for any problems.
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 our guidelines 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 a normal schedule the next day.