Sedation Dentistry

Sedation is used as an aid to help young children to cope with dental procedures. It can help children who have a high level of anxiety and/or special needs children to accept treatment or be treated more safely and efficiently. Dr. Gonzales will discuss with you the need for any type of sedation for your child’s treatment. More complex procedures, such as restorations (fillings), crowns (caps), root canals, and extractions can be more comfortable with sedation, so the young patient will respond better to dental treatment in the future.

Sedation is recognized by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry as an effective way to reduce the stress associated with more complex dental treatment. Dr. Gonzales will always discuss the process of sedation and the varying types or levels of sedation and the associated risks involved with the sedative process with you, including pre- and post-operative sedation instructions.

Nitrous oxide

  • Nitrous oxide (laughing gas): can be an aid to in helping a young patient through his/her dental treatment. Nitrous oxide is applied as an inhalant through a mask placed over the nose. Nitrous oxide is a mixture of a nitrogen-based gas with oxygen (also administered through the mask) to make a mostly oxygen based gas that allows a child to remain conscious, while minimizing fear. Nitrous oxide can help a child to relax and enable better cooperation, without complete sedation (the patient is never unconscious). The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has recognized the application of nitrous oxide as safe and effective as an aid in allowing a pediatric dentist to complete treatment. Nitrous oxide is very easily eliminated from the body by the simple act of breathing. Nitrous oxide will help facilitate treatment while your child is conscious and has all his/her reflexes intact.
Preparing for your child’s appointment using nitrous oxide as a sedative therapy: please let us know of any changes in your child’s medical status or condition. It is very important we know of any and all respiratory (breathing) conditions your child may have, especially those that affect your child’s ability to breathe through his/her nose, as it can cause the nitrous oxide to be ineffective if it is not inhaled properly. Always inform our office of any and all medications your child takes or discontinues at each appointment, regardless of whether they are receiving sedation therapy or not. Your child may not eat or drink anything for 3 hours prior to the dental appointment, especially any dairy products, as these may make your child nauseated in combination with the nitrous oxide therapy.

IV Sedation

  • IV Sedation: is a deeper level of sedation. IV Sedation is indicated for very young children, very apprehensive children and children with special needs. Commonly, IV sedation will allow Dr. Gonzales to complete a comprehensive initial examination and take necessary x-rays (radiographs). The patients who require IV Sedation for an initial examination, usually require general anesthesia (an even deeper level of sedation) for any additional procedures. However, Dr. Gonzales will make any necessary recommendations when he discusses your child’s treatment plan with you.
Preparing for your child’s appointment using IV Sedation as a sedative therapy: please let us know of any changes in your child’s medical status or condition. Please call our office and inform us if your child is running a fever, has an ear infection or has a cold; we will determine whether or not it the appointment should be rescheduled or not. Always inform our office of any and all medications your child takes or discontinues at each appointment, regardless of whether they are receiving sedation therapy or not. It is crucial that we know of any previous drug reactions (allergic or otherwise) that your child has experienced. The anesthesiologist who is in charge of your child’s sedative therapy will make a final decision as to whether your child can be safely treated or not. After midnight before your child’s appointment, you child may not have dairy products (including milk) or solid food. He/she may only have clear liquids (water, apple juice, Gatorade) for up to 6 hours prior to his/her appointment. The child’s legal guardian must remain in the office during the entire procedure.
Preparing for the post-sedation timeframe: your child will be drowsy and needs to be monitored very closely. Keep your child away from anything that might potentially harm him/her. Your child may be sleepy, so place your child on his/her side and keep their chin elevated. You should have your child sip a clear liquid every hour post-sedation to prevent dehydration. Do not let them drink too much or too fast, as it can cause your child to become nauseated. If your child does vomit, keep their airway open to ensure they do not inhale any of their own vomit. You will be given much more thorough post-operative and post-sedation therapy instructions to help you and your child post-treatment. You can always call our office with any questions or concerns you may have.