Imagine your child undergoing a complex dental treatment like a root canal, extraction, or oral surgery. When treatment is complete, your child will have no recollection of the time it took, the pain, the noise, or the discomfort. We are pleased to offer your child the option of comfortable, safe, and effective sedation dentistry. Our pediatric dental patients who benefit from sedation dentistry have:
- A fear or anxiety of being at the dentist
- A hard time sitting still for long periods of time
- A hard time getting (and staying) numb from anesthetics
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry allows your pediatric dentist to provide a variety of dental treatments safely and comfortably for children who experience anxiety when visiting the dentist. There are several benefits to sedation dentistry, including:
- No memory of undergoing the procedure
- No sense of time while under sedation
- No sense of smell or sound
- No fear or anxiety during treatment
Levels of Sedation
Sedation dentistry is closely regulated by law, and there are three sedative states at which your child's dentist can administer treatment: mild sedation, moderate sedation, and deep sedation.
- Mild Sedation — Anxiolysis is the lightest form of sedation dentistry and is often used for children with mild anxiety, longer procedures, or more complex situations. Mild sedation is usually administered orally. Your child will remain awake or very sleepy throughout the entire procedure and will be able to breathe normally, but he or she will feel a great sense of relaxation. Patients typically recover from anxiolysis sedation within a few hours after the procedure is complete. Nitrous oxide inhalation (laughing gas) is another form of mild to moderate sedation that results in relaxation during treatment.
- Moderate Sedation — Used for patients with moderate dental anxiety and for patients who need longer or more complex procedures, conscious sedation often refers to the use of light IV sedation. With conscious sedation, your child will remain awake throughout the procedure, but will be in a deep state of relaxation.
- Deep Sedation — Patients receiving deep sedation go between consciousness and unconsciousness during their dental procedure. Patients often have no recollection of the treatment and are unable to respond to commands even if they are awake at times during the procedure.
How are sedatives administered?
- Inhalation — Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is the most frequently used method for easing mild to moderate anxiety. Recovery is quick so your child can resume normal activities immediately.
- Oral — An extremely common technique for dental sedation is oral sedation. It is easy and does not require the use of needles. Your child will be given a prescription pill which, taken about an hour before the appointment, will have your child fully relaxed by the time you arrive at our office.
About an hour before treatment begins, your child will be given a small pill to help him or her relax. When you arrive at our practice, our staff will be waiting for you and will escort you and your child to a private treatment room.
Your doctor will gently place an IV and administer medication to help your child into a deeper state of relaxation. Once treatment is complete, your child will wake up feeling refreshed, with little or no memory of the appointment and a beautiful new smile. Using sedation dentistry, we are able to complete many different procedures, including complex smile makeovers, in just one office visit.
Common questions about IV sedation dentistry
We understand that before receiving treatment, you may have many questions about IV sedation dentistry. Here are some of the most common questions and answers about IV sedation dentistry.
- Will my child feel anything during treatment?
In most cases, patients do not feel anything. There is very little discomfort, and many patients wake up feeling relaxed and comfortable with almost no memory of the treatment.
- Is IV sedation dentistry the same as being unconscious?
No. Your child will still be conscious and responsive, however, he or she will be a deep state of relaxation.
- Is IV sedation dentistry safe?
IV sedation dentistry is a safe and effective way for many patients to receive dental treatment. Before starting treatment with IV sedation, the doctor will talk with you and help you decide if IV sedation is right for your child’s treatment.
- How long will it take the sedation to wear off?
The time it takes for the sedatives to wear off depends on the dose received, how long the treatment is, and how quick your child’s body can recover.
- Is my child a good candidate for IV sedation dentistry?
Any patients who experience dental anxiety are good candidates for IV sedation dentistry. If your child has any of the following fears or concerns, ask your doctor about IV sedation dentistry as an option for his or her next dental treatment:
- Extreme dental anxiety or fear of visiting the dentist
- Fear of needles and/or shots
- Past traumatic dental experience
- Can't handle the smells or noises of being at a dentist's office
- Has overly sensitive teeth, a strong gag reflex, or trouble getting numb
- Requires a more complex dental treatment
- Wishes to have a more comfortable dental treatment
Please contact our practice to schedule a consultation, learn more about sedation dentistry, and find out which sedation dentistry method may be right for your child.