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

Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral conscious sedation is lighter than the sedation required for sleep dentistry. It is typically used on children who are mildly anxious, able to somewhat sit still, and need only minimal treatment. For this procedure your child will be awake during the procedure, but they may feel sleepy.

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

Sleep Dentistry

Sleep dentistry is the deeper sedation route. It is typically used on children who are very anxious, unable to sit still enough to perform the dentistry safely, need a lot of dental work, or have a disability that limits their ability to understand directions and be treated safely.

The sleep part of sleep dentistry is performed by a specialist. This anesthesiologist has had specialized training to allow your child to sleep safely. Dr. Chris Patterson will discuss whether your child is a candidate for this procedure.

It is important to note that with both sedation options, your child’s vital signs will be monitored throughout their treatment.

With this option your child will be unconscious during treatment. Therefore, your child will be unaware of the dental treatment that is being performed. This helps create an environment where treatment is completed under a safe, pain-free, and non-traumatizing setting.

With either 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. 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 child, please give our office a call to make an appointment.

N2O for Anxiety Reduction

This anti-anxiety method is often used during a dental visit. It is administered with a mixture of oxygen and a gas that has a calming effect.

After treatment, oxygen is administered for 5-10 minutes. The effects wear off almost immediately, and side effects are rare. You can learn more about nitrous oxide here.