Sedation and General anesthesia

  • Nitrous Oxide (Laughing gas):
    • What is nitrous oxide/oxygen?
      Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases—nitrous oxide and oxygen. A fitted mask is placed over the patient's nose and uptake occurs naturally through the lungs with each breath. At the end of treatment, the nitrous oxide is eliminated from the circulation after a short period of breathing oxygen, and has no lingering effects.                                                                                                                                                                                                             
    • How will my child feel when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen?
      Your child will smell a faint sweet aroma and experience a sense of well-being and relaxation. Since it may produce a feeling of giddiness or euphoria, it is often called “laughing gas.” Children sometimes report dreaming and their arms and legs may feel “tingly.” It raises the pain threshold and may even make the time appear to pass quickly. If your child is worried by the sights, sounds, or sensations of dental treatment, he or she may respond more positively with the use of nitrous oxide/oxygen.                                                        
    • How safe is nitrous oxide/oxygen?
      Very safe. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry. It is well-tolerated. It has a rapid onset, is reversible, can be adjusted in various concentrations, and is non-allergenic. Your child remains fully conscious—keeps all natural reflexes—when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen. He/she will be capable of responding to questions or requests.                                                                                   
    • Will Nitrous oxide/oxygen work for all children?
      Pediatric dentists know that all children are not alike. Every service is tailored to your child as an individual. Nitrous oxide/oxygen may not be effective for some children, especially those who have severe anxiety, nasal congestion, or discomfort wearing a nasal mask. We will review your child’s medical history, level of anxiety, and dental treatment needs and inform you if nitrous oxide/oxygen is recommended for your child. 
      •  According the AAPD, contraindications for use of nitrous oxide/oxygen inhalation include: 1. Some chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, 2. Severe emotional disturbances or drug-related dependencies,  3. First trimester of pregnancy, 4. Treatment with bleomycin sulfate, 5. Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency, 6. Cobalamin deficiency.                                                                    
  • Oral Conscious Sedation: 
    • What is sedation?
      Sedation is a technique to guide a child’s behavior during dental treatment. Medications are used to help increase cooperation and to reduce anxiety or discomfort associated with dental procedures. Sedative medications cause most children to become relaxed and drowsy. Unlike general anesthesia, sedation is not intended to make a patient unconscious or unresponsive.                                                        
    • Who should be sedated for dental treatment?                                                                                                                                                                        Sedation may be indicated for children who have a level of anxiety that prevents good coping skills, those who are very young and do not understand how to cope in a cooperative fashion, or those requiring extensive dental treatment. Sedation can also be helpful for some patients who have special needs.                                                                                                                                                                                                      
    • Why utilize sedation?                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sedation is used for a child’s safety and comfort during dental procedures. It allows the child to cope better with dental treatment and helps prevent injury to the child from uncontrolled or undesirable movements. Sedation promotes a better environment for providing dental care.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
    • What medications are used?                                                                                                                                                                                                              Various medications can be used to sedate a child. Medicines will be selected based upon your child’s overall health, level of anxiety, and dental treatment recommendations.                                                                                                                                                                                                  
    • Is sedation safe?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Sedation can be used safely and effectively when administered by a pediatric dentist who follows the sedation guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Your pediatric dentist will discuss sedation options and patient monitoring for the safety and comfort of your child.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
  • In-office IV sedation:                                                                                                                                                                                          
    • Allows your child to sleep comfortably while their dental work is completed in our dental suite. 
    • We work with a licensed anesthesiologist.
  • General Anesthesia (GA):                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
    • What is general anesthesia?                                                                                                                                                                                                                  General anesthesia is a controlled state of unconsciousness that eliminates awareness, movement and discomfort during dental treatment. A physician or dentist with specialized training can use various medications to provide general anesthesia for patients receiving dental care.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
    • Who should receive general anesthesia for dental treatment?                                                                                                                                          General anesthesia may be indicated for children with extensive dental needs who are extremely uncooperative, fearful or anxious, or for the very young who do not understand how to cope in a cooperative fashion. General anesthesia also can be helpful for children requiring significant surgical procedures or patients having special health care needs.                                                                                                       
    • Is general anesthesia safe?
      Although there is some risk associated with general anesthesia, it can be used safely and effectively when administered by an appropriately-trained individual in an appropriately-equipped facility. Precautions are taken to protect your child during general anesthesia; personnel who are trained to manage complications will monitor your child closely. Your pediatric dentist will discuss the benefits and risks of general anesthesia and why it is recommended for your child.              

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