Some children are given nitrous oxide/oxygen - or what you may know as laughing gas - to relax them for their dental treatment. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is given through a small breathing mask which is placed over the child’s nose, allowing them to relax without putting them to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognizes this technique as a very safe, effective technique for treating children’s dental needs. The gas is mild, easily taken, and it is quickly eliminated from the body and it is non-addictive. While inhaling nitrous oxide/oxygen, your child remains fully conscious and maintains all of their natural reflexes.
Mild-to-Moderate or I.V. (Deep) sedation is recommended for apprehensive children, very young children, and children with special needs. It is used to calm your child and to reduce the anxiety or discomfort associated with dental treatments. Your child may become quite drowsy and may even fall asleep, but they will not become unconscious.
There are a variety of different medications that can be used for conscious or I.V. sedation. Your dentist or anesthesiologist will administer the medication best suited for your child’s overall health and dental treatment plan. We will be happy to answer any questions you might have concerning the specific medicine we plan to administer to your child.
General Anesthesia is recommended for apprehensive children, very young children, and children with special needs that do not work well under conscious sedation or I.V. sedation. General anesthesia renders your child completely asleep. This would be the same as if he/she was having their tonsils removed or having a hernia repaired. While the assumed risks are greater than that of other treatment options, the benefits of this treatment greatly outweigh the risks. Most pediatric medical literature places the risk of a serious reaction in the range of 1 in 25,000 to 1 in 200,000, far better than the assumed risk of driving a car. If this is not chosen, your child risks having multiple appointments, potential for physical restraint to complete treatment, and possible emotional and/or physical injury to your child in order to complete their dental treatment. The risks of NO treatment include tooth pain, infection, swelling, the spread of new decay, damage to their developing adult teeth and possible life-threatening hospitalization from a dental infection.
In-office general anesthesia is provided at Hanover Pediatric Dentistry by Dr. Patrick McCarty, a dentist anesthesiologist. Outpatient general anesthesia is performed in a hospital or ambulatory surgical center. If general anesthesia is indicated for your children, it will be determined by Dr. Groff and Dr. McCarty which setting will be most appropriate. The before and after appointment recommendations are the same for in-office general anesthesia as listed above for sedation.