There are two different sedation options offered at Epic Dentistry for Kids; conscious oral sedation and general anesthesia.  Sedation dentistry may be needed if your child requires a lot of dental treatment, has special needs, or may have dental anxiety and as a result may be unable to sit still long enough to receive treatment.  Dr. Patterson will help you and your family decide which sedation route may be the best option to treat your child. Factors to consider typically include: anxiety level, ability to cooperate, and required amount of treatment.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral conscious sedation is the lighter sedation route, and is typically used on children who are mildly anxious, able to somewhat sit still, and need only minimal treatment. With oral conscious sedation, your child will most likely still be awake during the procedure, but they may feel sleepy, and can be aroused and respond to commands.

At the dental appointment, before the start of the procedure, your pediatric dentist will give your child a liquid medicine or tablet to help your child feel more relaxed.  The objective of oral conscious sedation is not to put your child to sleep, but to decrease anxiety, reduce movement and reaction, and enhance patient cooperation, in a pain-free setting.  In many cases, children do not remember the procedure because of the amnesia effect of the oral medication.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is the deeper sedation route, and is typically used on children who are very anxious, unable to sit still enough to perform the dentistry safely, needs a lot of dental work or has a disability that limits their ability to understand directions and be treated safely. With general anesthesia your child will be unconscious during treatment, meaning they will be put to sleep. Therefore, your child will be unaware of the dental treatment that is being performed in their mouth. With this sedation route, it helps create an environment where treatment is completed under a safe, pain-free, and non-traumatizing setting.

A pediatric anesthesiologist performs the general anesthesia.  This kind of anesthesia is the same kind of sedation that is used for the removal of tonsils or placement of ear tubes.  Dr. Chris Patterson will discuss whether your child is a candidate for in-house anesthesia and for children who are treated in the office setting; they will go home the same day.

It is important to note that with both sedation options, your child’s vital signs will be monitored throughout their treatment (heart rate, breathing rate, and oxygen level).

With either sedation option, your child cannot eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the procedure.  Dr. Patterson will discuss what to expect during the treatment and at home.  He also recommends dressing your child in loose fitting, comfortable clothing. Legally we require at least one legal guardian and one additional adult to be present at the appointment.  In order to discuss which option is best for your and your child please give our office a call to make an appointment.

Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Nitrous oxide, more commonly known as “laughing gas,” is often used as a conscious sedative during a dental visit. The gas is administered with a mixture of oxygen and has a calming effect that helps phobic or anxious patients relax during their dental treatment.

After treatment, the nitrous oxide is turned off and oxygen is administered for 5-10 minutes to help flush any remaining gas.  The effects wear off almost immediately.  Nitrous oxide rarely has side effects, although some patients may experience minor nausea.