Sedation Dentistry

Sedation is widely recognized as a treatment for anxious or fearful dental patients. This involves the use of medication that relaxes your body & mind.

Woman smiling with childThe most common form of sedation is conscious sedation, which allows patients to be awake & able to communicate with the dentist. Your child will not sleep through their procedure, but they will feel drowsy, calm & comfortable. Though they will be awake, your child may have trouble remembering details about their appointment. In fact, they may not remember any of it!

There are three types of conscious sedation available to dentists: nitrous oxide gas, oral (pill) sedation & intravenous (IV) sedation.

Sedation Dentistry Treatments

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Do you struggle to take your child to the dentist? Does the thought of being in a dental chair fill your child with dread? Have bad experiences in the past caused you to avoid or miss recent dental appointments? You are not alone. Millions of patients worldwide share the same fear of dental work. Fortunately, we can help.

At our practice, you don’t need to let your child suffer in silence & neglect their oral health. We offer sedation dentistry to all our patients with different levels of anxiety, ranging from mild nervousness to extreme phobias. It is our belief that your child’s comfort at the dentist is essential to maintaining their dental hygiene.

Nitrous Oxide Sedation

If your child feels fear, apprehension or embarrassment when they are sitting in the dental chair—or even just thinking about the dentist—they are not alone. Many patients experience moderate to severe feelings of fear or anxiety surrounding their dental appointments.

Three generations smilingIf dental fear is keeping your child from seeing the dentist, we can help.

At our practice, we are happy to accommodate anxious patients. Our team uses nitrous oxide gas to ease patients’ nerves & keep them calm while they undergo procedures. Nitrous oxide, also referred to as “laughing gas,” is a first-line treatment for dental anxiety that is safe, effective & has few side effects.

Don’t let their anxiety keep you from caring for your child’s teeth! Feel free to ask us if your child is a candidate for conscious sedation. We are happy to make them comfortable in order to promote their overall dental health!

What Is Nitrous Oxide Sedation?

Nitrous oxide sedation is also called “conscious sedation” because it is not meant to knock you out. Instead, it will just relax your child while the dentist works on their teeth. They will still be awake & able to respond to the dentist if they ask your child any questions. Patients who receive nitrous oxide in the dental chair typically report feelings of comfort & wellbeing. Your child may also experience sleepiness, lightheadedness & a buzzing or tingling sensation in parts of their body.

Procedure Overview

If you decide to have your child’s dentist administer nitrous oxide, they will place a small mask over your child’s nose that will emit a continuous stream of gas. After that, it is as simple as regular breathing! The mask will first deliver 100% oxygen & then gradually increase the dosage of nitrous oxide. Your child should feel the effects almost immediately. During the procedure, the dentist can adjust the amount of gas at any time if they think your child is getting too much or not enough. Our staff will monitor your child throughout their treatment to ensure they are safe & comfortable. These safety precautions make overdosing extremely unlikely.

When your child’s treatment is finished & the gas is shut off, the effects will begin to disappear right away. It may take a few minutes to feel totally normal.

While nitrous oxide is very safe, there are still some possible side effects. A few patients experience nausea or headaches from nitrous oxide. To avoid nausea, it is a good idea for your child to avoiding eating for a couple hours before the procedure. If your child begins to feel nausea, dizziness or any other bad feelings, they should tell the dentist right away & they will be able to quickly adjust the gas to a comfortable level. All in all, negative side effects from nitrous oxide sedation are neither severe nor common.

In some cases, nitrous oxide sedation may not be right for your child. However, most children can safely receive nitrous oxide for their dental treatments.

Oral Sedation

If your child is the type of patient who fears & avoids visiting the dentist, they do not need to fear any longer! We understand that many of our patients struggle with deep-seated anxieties & insecurities surrounding dental appointments.

Family smiling outsideAt our practice, we are dedicated to maximizing your child’s comfort & eliminating their worries so they can get the treatment they need without any hassle.

Patients who feel uncomfortable about their dental treatment can choose to receive oral sedation. This involves taking an anti-anxiety pill about an hour before their dental appointment begins. If your child needs extensive work done or has not been to a dentist in awhile, this may be a good option.

What Is Oral Sedation?

Oral sedation is also called “conscious sedation” because it is not meant to knock you out. Instead, it will just relax your child while the dentist works on their teeth. Your child will still be awake & able to respond to the dentist if they ask them any questions. Patients typically report feeling drowsy, carefree & generally “out of it.” Your child may have trouble remembering all of their procedure, which some patients find to be a good thing. Our team will monitor your child’s level of sedation as well as their vital signs to ensure their total comfort & safety.

The medications used for oral sedation are called benzodiazepines. Doctors normally prescribe these drugs for anxiety & panic disorders, which makes them very useful for patients who experience fear in the dental chair. Before your child’s appointment, we recommend that they refrain from eating anything or drinking any non-clear liquids for at least six hours. Eating shortly before your child takes the medication may reduce its effectiveness & can cause nausea.

Procedure Overview

Benzodiazepines inhibit your judgment & coordination much like alcohol, so your child may need assistance walking or doing other tasks right away. It is normal to feel groggy & tired once the medication begins to wear off.

In addition to reducing your child’s discomfort, sedation can help establish a positive association with dental care. Children who receive oral sedation should be monitored for the rest of the day after their appointment & should refrain from participating in any physical activities such as sports.

Benzodiazepines may negatively interact with other medications. Be sure to let us know in advance about any prescriptions, over-the-counter products or dietary supplements your child is taking.

Patients with heart, lung or liver diseases should consult with their dentist or primary care doctor before undergoing oral sedation.

Let us help your child overcome their dental fears! Call us today to see if conscious sedation is right for your child.

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