Sedation Dentistry and Behavioral Management
Providing a safe and enjoyable environment for both you and your child is our utmost concern. For this reason, we offer sedation dentistry as a helpful service to children and young adults that have a high level of anxiety during dental procedures. Sedation medication increases patient cooperation and allows dental treatment to be completed.
Your child is carefully monitored and we use only the minimum amount of sedation medication to safely complete dental care. Sedation medication may be taken orally (Oral Sedation) or inhaled through the nose and mouth (Nitrous Oxide). Our office offers several options for sedation, which may vary according to your child’s age, anxiety level and dental work required. These options can be thoroughly explored during your child’s first visit, or any subsequent appointment.
Nitrous Oxide is a very safe and effective way to reduce your child’s mild anxiety and establish good communication. Inhalation sedation is actually a combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen. The onset is rapid, reaching the brain in 20 seconds; the relaxing effects are felt within a few minutes. The amount of sedation can be adjusted throughout the procedure to customize the experience for every child through the nitrous mask. Nitrous oxide is especially useful in cases where a child has a sensitive gag reflex. The most common adverse effects are nausea and vomiting, which occur when the nitrous level is too high. We carefully monitor nitrous oxide levels, and lift the mask when necessary to immediately stop the intake of gas.
Oral sedation is reserved for children that cannot have dental work completed in a more traditional method and do not require a great deal of treatment. We use oral sedation fairly sparingly as there are more restrictions with this option. The goals of oral sedation are to control behavior and movement, minimize discomfort and psychological trauma, while maximizing the amnesia effect.
Treatment with oral sedation usually is in the form of a liquid or may be a combination of medication. It is typically taken before the dental appointment (at the office), and the effects may last for several hours. Oral sedation is oftentimes called ‘conscious sedation’ because your child will be awake and conscious, but also relaxed and drowsy. Please ask our office about any special instructions before sedation, such as no drinks or food prior to treatment.