Sedation is the administering of a sedative drug to produce a state of calm or sleep.
Nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia
Many children are given nitrous oxide/oxygen to relax them during dental treatment. This is commonly known as “laughing gas”. These two gases are delivered to the patient through a hose attached to a nasal hood that sits on the nose so the child can breathe normally. This will help your child to relax and feel calmer during dental treatment without putting them to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognizes this technique for use in pediatric dentistry. As the gases are easily eliminated from the body, before your child hops out of the dental chair the effects are gone.
We will likely recommend this technique if your child is extremely apprehensive about upcoming dental treatment. It is also used for very young children and those with special needs. Conscious sedation involves taking a small pill or swallowing a drink of medication (we can add flavoring to the drink). There are various medications that can be used. We will go over exactly what drugs we plan to use and answer all questions that you may have. This technique usually makes your child quite drowsy and may even fall asleep. It is not intended to make your child unconscious.
IV sedation is used for extremely apprehensive children, special needs children and with children who need an extensive amount of dental care. Very often the conscious sedation technique is not quite enough to help the patient relax to and be calm so that the dental treatment can be performed safely. In these cases, we work with an anesthesiologist who comes to our office and Dr. Hoffman treats the child in the office while the anesthesiologist administers the medications and monitors the patient throughout the case.
In some cases there are reasons that IV sedation would not be recommended for your child to obtain dental care. Should that be the case, Dr. Hoffman will recommend a qualified pediatric dentist who has hospital privileges. For many years Dr. Hoffman did hospital cases but as it requires a great deal amount of time away from the office, he no longer does hospital dentistry.