At Pediatric Dental Care, our decisions on how to treat your child are based on what is in the child’s best interest. Our staff is trained in many methods to help patients feel comfortable with their dental treatment, all of which are endorsed by the American Dental Association. We want to make the dental experience a pleasant one that does not cause your child a lifetime of fearing the dentist.
Some children become anxious when they visit the dentist, and may not be able to relax or sit still long enough to receive treatment. Children with severe anxiety, low pain tolerance, mental or physical handicaps, or those who are too young to understand how to cope, may require sedation. Not only does it allow patients to relax better during treatment, it also helps prevent injury to the child from uncontrolled or undesirable movements.
Children undergoing extensive dental procedures such as fillings, crowns, and extractions often require a form of sedation.
In our office, we offer various types of sedation, including nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”), oral sedatives, and general anesthetic. The details of these forms of sedation are best discussed with the Dentist on your first visit to our office.
Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas”, is often used as a conscious sedative during dental procedures. The gas is mixed with oxygen and administered by simply resting a small mask over the child’s nose. Nitrous oxide has a calming effect that helps patients relax during their dental treatment. Your child remains awake and can continue to interact with the dentist.
After treatment, we will turn off the nitrous and administer oxygen for 5 to 10 minutes to help flush any remaining gas. The effects wear off almost immediately.
Nitrous oxide rarely has side effects, although it can sometimes make a child feel nauseous. Before a dental visit using this form of sedation, it is best to feed your child only liquids or a light meal a few hours beforehand. Before the procedure, we will provide you with pre- and post-sedation instructions.
At Pediatric Dental Care, we specialize in oral sedation. Our dentists hold Virginia state permits for administering enteral conscious and moderate sedation to patients. This form of sedation involves an oral sedative that the patient takes by mouth. It will cause the child to become very relaxed, sometimes so relaxed that he or she will fall asleep! Once the dental procedure has finished, we will keep your child for a short time after to make sure recovery is complete and there are no problems.
Sometimes it’s necessary for a patient to be unconscious in order for the dentist to safely complete needed dental treatment. General anesthesia is a method of sedation that puts a patient into a deep sleep. Pediatric Dental Care has an Anesthesia Specialist who has been working with our practice for years and is highly experienced in this form of sedation.
Because we feel it is important that our young patients receive care in a comfortable, familiar environment, we have the anesthesia specialist come to us. He will administer the anesthesia at Pediatric Dental Care, and will take of your child throughout the entire process. Our team follows the same procedures and protocols as they would in the hospital. Once the procedure is complete, the specialist will stay with your child to make sure the anesthesia wears off properly. Additionally, we will follow up at the end of the day to check on your child and make sure he or she is recovering well after the procedure.
Before administering any sedative or anesthetic, we will talk with you about the process of sedation as well as provide pre- and post-sedation instructions. It is important to inform us of any medications or medical treatments your child is receiving.
If your child becomes sick in the days leading up to a procedure, please call our office and let us know as soon as possible, as we may need to reschedule the appointment. For the safety of our patients, Pediatric Dental Care will not sedate a sick child.
While we cannot make sedation risk-free, we do all that we can in order to facilitate safety.