We will always choose the most conservative treatment options available to your child, and we seek to use non-invasive procedures whenever possible. However, there are times when your child may need to be sedated to care for them properly. Ultimately, their safety and comfort are our utmost concern.
When your child is a little anxious to have their cavities fixed, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) may be a good option for them. It is recognized as a safe and effective way to reduce anxiety and provide analgesia. The goal of a nitrous oxide/oxygen inhalation appointment is to help reduce anxiety, enhance communication and patient cooperation, raise the pain threshold, increase tolerance for longer procedures and reduce gagging. Our board-certified pediatric dentists will help determine if your child is a candidate for nitrous oxide/oxygen inhalation.
• There are often restrictions regarding diet prior to a procedure involving nitrous oxide, please contact the office for instructions.
• Please notify us of any change in your child’s health and/or medical condition. Do not bring your child in for treatment with a fever, ear infection or cold. Should your child become ill, contact us to see if it is necessary to postpone the appointment.
• Please inform the doctor of any prescriptions that your child is currently taking and any drug reactions and/or change in medical history.
Oral conscious sedation (OCS) is a safe, effective, and non-invasive method to help increase cooperation and reduce anxiety and discomfort/pain associated with dental treatment. Various medications can be used to sedate a child and are selected based on your child’s age, overall health, level of anxiety, and dental treatment recommendations.
Once the medications have been administered orally, it may take up to an hour or more before your child shows signs of sedation and is ready for dental treatment. In addition to the oral medication, nitrous oxide gas will be used in conjunction to help achieve an ideal level of sedation. Most children become relaxed and drowsy and may drift into a light sleep from which they can be aroused easily. Unlike general anesthesia, sedation is not intended to make a patient unconscious or unresponsive.
There are times when your child might not be able to tolerate or cooperate for necessary dental treatment due to extensive treatment needs, acute situational anxiety, uncooperative age-appropriate behavior, immature cognitive functioning, disabilities, or other medical conditions. If it is determined that your child would benefit and is a candidate for IV sedation, our board-certified dental anesthesiologist will administer the anesthesia and monitor your child while our board-certified pediatric dentist completes the necessary dental work.
Outpatient general anesthesia is a type of sedation that is used for children who may be anxious, very young, or have special needs that make it difficult for them to undergo conscious sedation or intravenous (IV) sedation. With this method, your child will be completely asleep, similar to when they have surgery such as tonsil removal or hernia repair. Outpatient general anesthesia is only performed in a hospital or outpatient setting. While it carries a higher risk than other treatment options, the benefits of this approach often outweigh the risks. If you do not choose outpatient general anesthesia, your child may require multiple appointments, may need to be physically restrained to complete treatment, and may experience emotional or physical harm during dental treatment. The risks of not receiving treatment include tooth pain, infection, swelling, the spread of new decay, damage to their adult teeth, and potentially life-threatening hospitalization due to a dental infection.
Here are some things to consider before your appointment:
•There may be restrictions on your child’s diet before the procedure, so please contact the office for specific instructions.
•If your child’s health or medical condition changes, be sure to let the doctor know. Do not bring your child in for treatment if they have a fever, ear infection, or cold. If your child becomes ill, contact the office to see if the appointment needs to be postponed.
•Let the doctor know about any medications your child is taking and any drug reactions or changes in their medical history.