Sedation dentistry requires special training, and our team uses this expertise to make anxious patients calm and relaxed. We want all of our patients to be smiling, so we take every step necessary to make sure your child is comfortable and free of anxiety.
Going to the dentist can be a scary experience for some, particularly young children. While there is nothing to fear, sometimes it is necessary to get a little something extra to help your child relax. Any time we do a dental procedure where we work on teeth, a local anesthetic is applied to reduce or eliminate sharp pains, it isn’t always enough to keep children calm and still. Fortunately, there are additional options with sedation dentistry to alleviate worry and stress.
Benefits of Sedation
Sedation dentistry is endorsed by the American Dental Association as an effective means of relaxing and calming patients, both young and old. Sedation touts a host of benefits:
- Aside from grogginess, which typically clears up quickly, there are very few side effects from sedation.
- Simple procedures tend to take less time to accomplish while extensive procedures see more tasks completed in a single visit.
- The patient is considerably less anxious and more tolerant of any discomfort.
- The forms of sedation can be adjusted on the fly as needed to keep your child awake while keeping them free of any pain.
Pediatric dentists in Houston undergo extensive training that includes sedation dentistry, giving them excellent knowledge regarding gas mixture amounts and IV sedation doses.
Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
Laughing gas is the go-to for sedation dentistry. Its ease of use and high safety make it very effective for keeping children calm and relaxed while we work on their teeth. Side effects are minimal, and the level of gas administered can be adjusted as necessary to keep the child fully awake, but still relaxed.
What is Laughing Gas?
Laughing gas is a gaseous compound of nitrous oxide and oxygen that has a calming effect on humans, relieving them of stress and anxiety. This stress relief can be critical to performing some long dental procedures, especially for children. Not every child will need laughing gas, and some procedures won’t require its use due to minimal discomfort. Even still, some children may be anxious regardless of how simple or easy the procedure will be, and as such laughing gas can be used to help calm them.
Is it Safe?
Laughing gas is one of the safest forms of sedation dentistry and the effects of the gas can be regulated by our expert staff as necessary. This allows us to give your child just enough of the gas to make them feel relaxed without making them feel sleepy. In fact, all procedures conducted with the use of laughing gas allow your child to remain awake for the whole procedure. This allows us to give them instructions while we work on a tooth. After the procedure is done, the effects of the laughing gas wear off within minutes of taking the breathing mask off.
What are the Benefits?
Laughing gas reduces anxiety and keeps children calm throughout dental procedures. Because they are calm and relaxed, a greater portion of the procedure can be completed in a shorter amount of time, resulting in fewer visits for complicated work. There are very few side effects to using laughing gas; the most common being grogginess or feeling “loopy,” but these side effects wear off shortly after the gas is turned off.
IV sedation is more direct than laughing gas. The IV connects directly to the child’s veins, allowing us to instantly regulate the dosage given. Being that it is stronger, IV sedation can bring the child to unconsciousness, allowing us to perform extensive work without interruption.
What is IV Sedation?
IV sedation is definitely more potent than the use of laughing gas, and it is typically used in cases where the child is extremely anxious about the dental procedure or has a very low tolerance for pain. We usually use a local anesthetic for working on teeth and gums, but IV sedation can bring the patient to the cusp of unconsciousness and remove all sensation entirely. The child can either be just barely awake so that we can give them instructions as we work, or they can be just barely unconscious, so we can complete a lot of extensive work all at once.
Is IV Sedation Safe?
IV sedation is very safe; we have a board certified pediatric anesthesiologist on staff to monitor the use of IV sedation and regulate the dosage as necessary. IV sedation allows our expert staff to adjust the dosage up or down instantly changing how much enters your child’s veins. Even if they become fully unconscious, it is easy enough to awaken them with a gentle shake of the shoulder.
What are the Benefits?
Some young children react negatively to the use of local anesthetics. They may not understand the feeling of tingly numbness that goes with the local anesthetic, and as a result, they may involuntarily try chewing their lips or inner cheeks, probing for some sort of sensation. This can make dental work more difficult and is not advised. With IV sedation, we can eliminate nearly all sensation while they are just barely conscious and all sensation if they are unconscious, allowing us to accomplish a lot more.