Sedation is sometimes necessary to calm a child during a procedure.

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Nitrous Oxide

What is it?

Commonly referred to a “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is medicine administered by inhalation (breathing through a mask). It produces a mild dissociative effect, but does not cause a person to fall asleep when administered as it typically is in the dental setting.

When do you use it?

It is used for restorative procedures (fillings) and tooth extractions to help a child relax and overcome minor anxiety associated with dental procedures like tooth fillings or tooth extractions.

Will my child experience effects from nitrous oxide after leaving the dental office?

No. Because nitrous oxide is administered through the inhalation route, it takes only 2 minutes of breathing pure oxygen after the dental procedure is over for the medication to be completely out of their system.

Oral Conscious Sedation

What is it?

A liquid medication that is administered at the dental office. The child ingests the medication by drinking it mixed with flavored syrup to make it more palatable. The medication used produces mild anxiolysis (takes away anxiety).

When do you use it?

When a child’s level of anxiety associated with a dental procedure exceeds the level that could be managed with nitrous oxide alone, an oral-sedative is often recommended. Your child must meet certain health criteria in order to be a candidate for the safe administration of this medication.

General Anesthesia

What is it?

The use of general anesthesia means your child will be completely “asleep” for their dental procedures. General anesthesia is administered by a separate doctor from your child’s dentist, called a dental anesthesiologist. This doctor has special training in the administration of general anesthesia, and his focus is to monitor your child during their procedure. This “two-provider” model increase safety for your child.

When do you use it?

When the amount of dental work needed is extensive, or a child is too young to cooperate for dental treatment, or a child’s anxiety about a dental procedure prohibits their safe cooperation, general anesthesia is recommended.