Many young children, and some older ones, experience anxiety about undergoing dental work or even visiting the dentist at all. This common apprehension may prevent them from getting the dental care they need and may compromise their overall health and well-being. When these anxieties are present, we are able to provide necessary sedation for pediatric patients.

Sedation involves the use of medication to provide a calmer and anxiety-free experience for patients undergoing dental treatment.

Patients generally are not sleeping during the dental procedure, instead, most children remain awake after taking sedation medication and experience a sleepy feeling. There are several different methods available to achieve varying degrees of sedation, all depending on the type of procedure and the patient’s needs.

Although sedation produces a relaxed state, it does not produce the same effect as anesthesia, which is used for most dental procedures. Patients will still require local anesthesia through injection to help reduce the pain of the procedure. Sedation simply helps relieve the stress and anxiety that often accompany seeing a dentist. The anesthesia is usually injected after the patient is sedated to reduce anxiety about the actual

Benefits of Sedation

Many children are uneasy about undergoing dental work.  Sedation lets patients feel as though their lengthy procedures last for only a few
minutes. Patients that may benefit from sedation include those who:

  • Are too young to be able to sit still in the dental chair
  • Have sensitive teeth
  • Have a bad gag reflex
  • Need a large amount of dental work done

Types of Dental Sedation

Sedation can be administered through several different methods, depending on the overall health and level of relaxation required by the patient. Most patients use nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, to achieve a relaxed sensation. This is achieved by placing a mask over the nose that lets the patient breathe in the gas. The sedated feelings begin anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes after inhaling. Numbness throughout the cheeks and gums also begins quickly. Other methods of sedation can be delivered orally or intravenously.

Depending on a patient's anxiety level, different degrees of dental sedation may be required. Two
of the types of sedation we can provide include:

  • Conscious Sedation - Most dentists use
    conscious sedation, a state that lets patients feel relaxed but also remain
    awake and able to respond to commands. The patient will not remember most of
    the procedure with this sedation.
  • Hospital Unconscious Sedation – Only done in a hospital setting, it requires general
    anesthesia and brings about added risks. This is usually only used for oral
    surgery or very young patients with significant dental work needed.

Although the risk of using sedation is low, mild side effects may occur. Some patients may experience nausea, dizziness and drowsiness afterwards.

Intravenous sedation is not recommended for patients who are claustrophobic, have a blocked nasal passage, are obese or have obstructive
sleep apnea.


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