Sedation dentistry provides safe, comfortable, pediatric dental treatment for patients with special needs. Sometimes called relaxation dentistry, sedation dentistry is a method of managing pain and anxiety during professional dental care through the use of medications. Your child may benefit from sedation dentistry if they experience one or more of the following:

  • Being to young to communicate or understand the procedure
  • Short attention span
  • High fear or anxiety about dental care
  • Complex dental problems
  • Traumatic dental experiences
  • Fear of needles and shots
  • Trouble getting numb
  • To protect their developing psyche

The two most common types of sedation dentistry are:

  • Inhalation Sedation- Nitrous Oxide
  • Oral Conscious Sedation

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, 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 pediatric dentist during their visit. After treatment, the nitrous is turned off and oxygen is administered for five to 10 minutes to help flush any remaining gas. The effects wear off almost immediately. Nitrous oxide rarely has side effects, although some patients may experience minor nausea and constipation. Your pediatric dentist will provide you with pre- and post-sedation instructions.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Through this type of sedation your child can comfortably experience a state of deep relaxation while still being conscious. After a thorough evaluation of your child’s health status your pediatric dentist may provide them with a custom tailored dose of an oral medication that is easy to swallow, safe, and helpful for your child’s comfort. When the medication takes effect, your child will be restful but still able to speak and respond to external requests.

The American Dental Association, and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry endorse sedation. It is an effective way to help many patients remain comfortable during their dental visit. Before using a sedatives or anesthetics, it is important to tell your pediatric dentist about any medications or medical treatments your child is receiving. Before administering any sedative or anesthetic, your pediatric dentist will talk to you about the process of sedation and give pre- and post-sedation instructions.