For many restorative procedures, tooth extractions and other oral surgeries, sedation is often necessary to improve patient comfort and help keep restless children at ease. Different types of sedation can be necessary depending on your child’s anxiety level and the amount of treatment they need. Our mission is to ensure that all of our guests have positive and comfortable experiences during treatment, and Dr. Whittington will review all of the options with you so that you can choose the one that best fits your child’s needs.
Types of Sedation
There are three types of sedation. The first type is the administration of a breathable gas known as nitrous oxide. Also called laughing gas, nitrous oxide is very mild but effective for easing fearful or anxious children. Its effects progress quickly, and as soon as the soft nasal mask that delivers the gas is removed, its effects wear off.
The second type of sedation is delivered orally. Oral, conscious sedation involves prescribing a medication that is developed specifically to combat anxiety. It stops the chemical reactions in the brain that produce feelings of intense panic and worry so that children can receive treatment without fear or concern. Patients will not be unconscious, but the effects of this medication may make them feel groggy.
Intravenous (IV) sedation, also known as conscious sedation, is a more powerful. This method of sedation is ideal for patients who have medical conditions that make it difficult for them to sit still for extended periods of time or conditions that make it necessary to reduce stress levels during treatment. With IV conscious sedation, patients are still able to respond to verbal commands but will, most likely, have no memory of the procedure.
Types of Anesthesia
There are two types of anesthesia, local and general. Local anesthetic is administered only to the area being treated. In dental settings, local anesthesia is injected at and around the treatment site. This is done because soft tissue and teeth have nerve endings. When performing procedures such as root canal therapy or placing restorations, local anesthetic will prevent feelings of discomfort. General anesthesia is an induced state of medical unconsciousness, and it is used for complex or long procedures. Administered intravenously, general anesthesia includes a combination of prescription analgesics and sedatives.
Benefits of Sedation Dentistry
Sedation presents many benefits to young patients – especially those with special needs, those who have anxiety about dental treatment and those receiving surgical care. The medication used in sedation dentistry promotes a calm and peaceful feeling that makes children feel comfortable and free of worry and is notably useful during procedures where stillness is ideal because treatment can be obstructed by fidgety movements. Lastly, sedation can prevent the development of dental phobias by helping patients develop positive associations with visits to the dentist.