Understanding the different types of dental sedation
Nitrous Oxide or “comfort air” (What we offer)
Often called “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is a very safe, mild sedative that will help your child remain relaxed during dental procedures. We will give the sedation with the use of a “nose cone” which carries air (oxygen) mixed with the medication. Your child will be asked to breathe through the nose, not the mouth, and will sense a faint, sweet smell. The sedation will take effect in about 5 minutes. The nose cone will remain in place until the procedure is done. Your child will be awake during the entire procedure and may have a “happy” feeling. When the procedure is complete, the nitrous oxide will be turned off and your child will breathe in pure oxygen for about 5 minutes to clear out any remaining gas. You should limit your child to a very light meal 2 hours before this procedure, such as toast or a waffle with clear juice or water.
Oral Sedatives (Not offered at Chompers)
If your child is extremely nervous, oral sedation may be used. It is taken by mouth or through the nose. This type of medicine will make your child a little drowsy, and will keep him or her relaxed and calm during the procedure. The medicine usually begins to work within 20 minutes. Your dentist will have your child take the medicine once you arrive at the appointment. If your child is having sedation, he or she should have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before the appointment. Your child will still have the sedatives in their system after their dental procedure is completed.
Intravenous (IV) sedation requires a needle to be inserted into your child’s vein, usually in the arm or hand. The biggest advantage to IV sedation is that the anesthesiologist can give your child more medicine during a longer procedure to keep him or her relaxed. Home preparation is required for this type of sedation. This type of sedation is commonly referred to as “being put to sleep.”
Our office only offers Nitrous Oxide sedation and IV Sedation
While we are trained to provide all types of sedation, our office believes that 98% of the patients that we see can be treated without the use of Oral Sedatives or IV Sedation.
We will occasionally have a Medical Anesthesiologist from the Children's Dental Anesthesia Group (https://www.cdanesthesia.com/home) provide intravenous sedation if:
1) your child has multiple cavities that you wish to have all repaired in one visit
2) if you, as a parent, have a low tolerance for a potentially difficult appointment for your child.
On the other hand, we often get parents who bring their child to us because another office has recommended treatment with oral or IV sedation. These types of parents want to avoid oral and IV sedation at all costs and understand that the appointments may be more difficult.
Why don’t we offer Oral Sedation
Our decision not to offer oral sedation is based on our entire practice’s philosophy of treating every child here as our own. If we can complete treatment without the added complexity of oral then we consider that a success. It is absolutely true that treating a patient that has not been given an oral sedation or IV sedation requires a greater degree of patient management skills. Our office is well equipped to make your child as comfortable as possible with TVs mounted above every chair, individual headphones, and the ability to either watch TV, movies or even play video games while being treated.