Creating an atmosphere of comfort and compassion is very important to us so we can instill positive feelings about going to the dentist without anxiety, pain or fear. Depending on the age of the child, their behavior, and the extent of any treatment diagnosed, we offer a few options to make your child’s appointment more comfortable. We provide nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation in our office. When a deeper level of sedation is needed, we offer treatment under general anesthesia in the operating room. Please click on each link for a more detailed explanation.
- Nitrous Oxide
- Oral Conscious Sedation
- General Anesthesia
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Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas” is used to help relax children with mild to moderate anxiety about dental work. Nitrous oxide is delivered through a small mask placed over the child’s nose. The effects of Nitrous Oxide help children to relax so they can receive their dental treatment calmly and safely. Nitrous Oxide is recognized by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry as a safe and effective technique to use for treating children’s dental needs. The gas is non-addictive and is eliminated from the body within a few minutes after it is stopped. While inhaling nitrous oxide, your child will remain awake and able to interact with the dental team. Nitrous Oxide also provides an analgesic or pain relieving effect. For this reason, using Nitrous Oxide often allows the dentist to complete small restorations without numbing the mouth with local anesthetic. When local anesthetic is needed, using Nitrous Oxide first will make the injection more comfortable. Our doctors utilize Nitrous Oxide and topical anesthetic gel to make injections as pain free as possible. Many children do not even realize they have had a “shot.”
For children who are very young, apprehensive, or have extensive treatment needs, conscious sedation may be necessary. We will give your child an oral medication that will help calm them and minimize the anxiety or discomfort associated with dental treatment. Conscious sedation is intended to make your child drowsy. Some children will even fall asleep, but they will remain conscious, continue to breathe normally and be able to respond during and after treatment. While some children may still be upset by dental work done while sedated, the medications used will generally prevent the child from remembering the visit. The doctor will help determine which medication will be best for your child’s unique treatment needs. All children undergoing oral sedation are monitored continuously to assure the upmost safety and control.
General Anesthesia may be recommended for very young children, children with extensive dental needs, children who are extremely apprehensive or unable to cooperate, and children with special needs. For these patients, treatment under general anesthesia allows the dentist to complete quality dental care in the safest and least traumatic manner for the child. Another benefit is that extensive treatment plans that would normally require several appointments can be completed in a single visit. General Anesthesia is provided by an anesthesiologist or anesthetist, and can be scheduled at area hospitals and outpatient surgical centers, as well as in our dental office. Your child will be completely asleep and unaware of the dental treatment that is taking place. This is similar to what you would experience if your child needed general anesthesia for an outpatient medical procedure such as removal of tonsils or placement of ear tubes. If general anesthesia has been recommended for your child, our doctors will discuss the best option and location for your child’s care.