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We realize that one of the primary reasons you have chosen to bring your child to a pediatric dentist is that through our training we have learned to take care of most children without the use of sedatives. In fact, roughly 95% of the children we see are treated with simply a gentle manner and, if needed, some local anesthesia for cavity filling appointments. Yet, there a certain situations when our patients need some help to cooperate, so that the appointment can be safe and comfortable for everyone.

If it is deemed that your child will need sedation for treatment, the type of sedation chosen will be based on the type of dental procedure, the child’s past experiences, your preferences, and the doctor’s recommendation. As pediatric dentists , we have been highly trained to safely utilize the various form of sedation available for use in the dental setting. When using sedation agents, we follow the strict guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. If the use of a sedative medication is indicated for your child, we will discuss the various options as well as the benefits and possible risks of each type of sedation agent.

Please don’t hesitate to ask us any questions you may have. You should feel free to openly discuss and fully participate in the discussion concerning the choice of anesthesia for your child. We want your child’s dental procedure to be as pleasant and comfortable as possible. Modern Anesthesiology can offer a variety of options from which we can determine the best possible way to treat your child.

Local anesthesia

This is what we use to get your child “numb”. Historically known as Novocain (though the anesthetic we now use is called something else), an injection is given to block any uncomfortable sensations your child may feel during an appointment. Though many parents are apprehensive about how their child will react to an injection, most are pleasantly surprised when the child finishes their appointment and never realized they received a “shot.”

Nitrous Oxide

What is nitrous oxide/oxygen?

Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. When inhaled, it is absorbed by the body and has a calming effect. Normal breathing eliminates nitrous oxide/oxygen from the body.

How will my child feel when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen?

Your child will smell a sweet, pleasant aroma and experience a sense of well-being and relaxation. If your child is worried by the sights, sounds, or sensations of dental treatment, he or she may respond more positively with the use of nitrous oxide/oxygen.

How safe is nitrous oxide/oxygen?

Very safe. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry. It is non-addictive. It is mild, easily taken, then quickly eliminated by the body. Your child remains fully conscious, keeps all natural reflexes, when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen.

Are there any special instructions for nitrous oxide/oxygen?

First, give your child little or no food before the dental visit. (Occasionally, nausea or vomiting occurs when a child has a full stomach.) Second, tell your pediatric dentist about any respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult for your child. It may limit the effectiveness of nitrous oxide/oxygen. Third, tell your pediatric dentist if your child is taking any medication on the day of the appointment.

Will nitrous oxide/oxygen work for all children?

No. Pediatric dentists know that all children are not alike! Every service is tailored to your child as an individual. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is not effective for some children, especially those who have severe anxiety, nasal congestion, extensive treatment needs, or discomfort wearing a nasal mask. Pediatric dentists have comprehensive specialty training and can offer other sedation methods that are right for your child.

Conscious Sedation/Non-Intravenous Sedation/Oral Sedation

What is conscious sedation?

Conscious sedation is a management technique that uses medications to assist the child to cope with fear and anxiety and cooperate with dental treatment. The intent of conscious sedation is not to put your child to sleep, but simply to reduce anxiety and help your child be more cooperative.

Who should be sedated?

Children who have a level of anxiety that prevents good coping skills or are very young and do not understand how to cope in a cooperative fashion for the delivery of dental care should be sedated. Conscious sedation is often helpful for some children who have special needs.

Why utilize conscious sedation?

Conscious sedation aids in allowing a child to cope better with dental treatment. This can help prevent injury to the child from patient movement and promote a better environment for providing dental care

What medications are used?

Many different medications can be used for conscious sedation. We will discuss different options for your child.

Is sedation safe?

Sedation is safe when administered by a trained pediatric dentist who follows the sedation guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Your pediatric dentist will discuss sedation options and patient monitoring for the protection of your child.

What special instructions should I follow before the sedation appointment?

Your child must have an empty stomach to improve the effect of the medicine, and ensure the highest level of safety. Therefore your child must not eat or drink 8 hours prior to the appointment. All our sedation appointments start at 8 a.m., therefore simply put your child to bed after a big dinner, and wake them up as late as possible prior to leaving for you visit.

In order to alleviate potential anxiety in your child, your pediatric dentist may recommend minimal discssion of the dental appointment with your child. Should your child become ill, contact your pediatric dentist to see if it is necessary to postpone the appointment. It is very important to follow the directions of your pediatric dentist regarding fasting from fluids and foods prior to the sedation appointment.

What special instructions should I follow after the sedation appointment?

Your pediatric dentist will not discharge your child until the child is alert and ready to go. Children who have been sedated are instructed to remain at home for the rest of the day with adult supervision. We will discuss specific post-sedation instructions with you, including appropriate diet, physical activity, and requested supervision.

General Anesthesia

What is general anesthesia?

General anesthesia is a management technique that uses medications to cause the child to sleep while receiving dental care. It is provided by a dentist anesthesiologist who has special training in anesthesia for children in a dental office setting.

Who should receive dental care with general anesthesia?

Children with severe anxiety and/or inability to cooperate are candidates for general anesthesia. These children may be young or have compromised health or special needs. They usually require extensive dental treatment and their anxiety cannot be controlled with conscious sedation techniques.

Is general anesthesia safe?

General anesthesia is safe when administered by an appropriately trained individual in an appropriately equipped facility. Many precautions are taken to provide safety for the child during general anesthesia care. The dentist anesthesiologist, and your child’s dentist, will be with your child the entire time they are sedated, and patients are monitored closely during the general anesthesia to assure the highest level of safety. Your pediatric dentist will discuss the benefits and risks involved in general anesthesia and why it is recommended for your child.

What special considerations are associated with the general anesthesia appointment?

A physical examination is required prior to general anesthesia for dental care . This physical examination provides information to ensure the safety of the general anesthesia procedure. We will advise you about evaluation appointments that are required. Parents are instructed to report to the pediatric dentist any illness that occurs prior to the general anesthesia appointment. It may be necessary to reschedule the appointment. It is very important to follow instructions regarding preoperative fasting from fluids and foods. Usually patients are tired following general anesthesia. Your child will be discharged when alert and ready to depart. You will be instructed to let the child rest at home with minimal activity planned until the next day. Post-operative dietary recommendations will also be given.

Treatment of Cavities

Your child may need to receive additional treatment outside of their normal check-ups. Included are after treatment care for various services we provide in our office. The appropriate items will be explained to you at the time your child receives treatment, however are also available on here for your convenience.