American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
Dustin A. DeDomenico, DMD, MS
Pediatric Dental Specialist
Sedation dentistry refers to the use of sedation during dental treatment. There are different types of sedation, including nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”), oral sedation, IV sedation, and general anesthesia (typically performed in a hospital setting).
Sedation can range from the use of nitrous oxide to calm a patient to general anesthesia, used to put patients to sleep. Patients with dental phobia, low pain tolerance, extensive dental treatment, physical handicaps or strong gag reflexes may require sedation. Procedures like multiple fillings, crowns, pulpotomies, and extractions often require sedation.
Sedation is endorsed by the American Dental Association and is an effective way to help patients be more comfortable during their dental visit. Before using a sedative or anesthetic, it is important to tell your pediatric dentist about any medications or medical treatments your child is receiving. Before administering any sedative or anesthetic, one of our doctors will talk to you about the process of sedation and pre- and post-sedation instructions.
Nitrous Oxide (“Laughing Gas”)
Nitrous oxide, more commonly known as laughing gas, is a safe and effective method used to help your child relax for their dental treatment. Patients remain alert, awake and can talk to the dentist and staff during their treatment. The onset is quick, the effects are fully reversible, and recovery is rapid. The effects wear off almost immediately. Nitrous oxide rarely has side effects, although some patients may experience some minor nausea.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral conscious sedation is indicated for children that are apprehensive, require treatment of multiple cavities, very young (pre-cooperative), or have special needs. It is used to calm your child and to reduce the anxiety or discomfort associated with dental treatments. Oral conscious sedation tends to produce feelings of drowsiness and relaxation and is not meant to make your child unconscious. The oral medication takes about 20 minutes to 1 hour for it to take effect, depending on the type.
It will be administered in the office at the appointed time.
Prior to your appointment:
•Please notify us of any change in your child’s health and/or medical condition.
• Do not bring your child 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.
• You must tell the doctor of any drugs that your child is currently taking and any drug reactions and/or change in medical history.
• Please do not bring any additional children that require supervision (unless accompanied by an additional adult), as you will need to pay full attention to your child that is being sedated.
• Please dress your child in loose fitting, comfortable clothing.
• Please make sure that your child goes to the bathroom immediately prior to arriving at the office.
• Your child should not have solid food for at least 4 hours prior to their sedation appointment.
• The child's parent or legal guardian must remain at the office during the complete procedure.
• Personal transportation is required (no bus, taxi, or public modes of transportation)
• Please watch your child closely while the medication is taking effect.
• Hold them in your lap or keep them close to you. Do not let them “run around.”
• Your child will act drowsy and may become slightly excited at first.
After the sedation appointment:
• Your child will be drowsy and will need to be monitored very closely. Keep your child away from areas of potential harm.
• If your child wants to sleep, place them on their side with their chin up. Do NOT leave them unsupervised. Wake your child every hour and encourage them to have something to drink in order to prevent dehydration. At first it is best to give your child sips of clear liquids to prevent nausea. The first meal should be light and easily digestible.
• If your child vomits, help them bend over and turn their head to the side to insure that they do not inhale the vomit.
• Because we use local anesthetic to numb your child’s mouth during the procedure, your child may have the tendency to bite or chew their lips, cheeks, and/or tongue and/or rub and scratch their face after treatment. Please observe your child carefully to prevent any injury to these areas.
• For discomfort use Children’s Tylenol, Advil, or Motrin as directed for the age of the child. If a medicine was prescribed, then follow the directions on the bottle.
• Please call our office for any questions or concerns that you might have.