Sedation Pediatric Dental Services

At Growing Smiles, we know that going to the dentist may be scary for children, so we strive to make every child feel at ease! Dr. Meggan will work with you to decide the best plan for your child. Before making the decision to use a sedation medicine, it is important to tell us about any medication or medical treatments your child is receiving. Our team will explain the process of sedation and give you pre- and post-sedation instructions.

In order to comfort your child, we provide the following sedation services:

  • Nitrous (Laughing Gas)
  • Oral Conscious Sedation
  • In Office IV Sedation
  • General Anesthesia

Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)

Nitrous oxide, more commonly known as laughing gas, is a safe and effective method used to help apprehensive or anxious patients relax during their dental treatment. Nitrous oxide consists of a blend of two gases — oxygen and nitrous oxide — administered through a small breathing mask placed over a child’s nose, allowing them to relax. Your child remains alert, awake and can talk to the team during the treatment and keeps all of their natural reflexes. The onset is quick, the effects are fully reversible and recovery is rapid. It is non-addictive. After treatment, the nitrous is turned off and we will administer oxygen for 5 to 10 minutes to flush out any remaining gas. The effects wear off almost immediately. Nitrous oxide rarely has side effects, although some patients may experience minor nausea. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, recognizes this technique as a very safe and effective to use for treating children’s dental needs.

Prior to your appointment:

  • Dr. Meggan recommends a light meal prior to nitrous oxide use, as heavy foods increase the risk of nausea
  • Please inform us of any change to your child’s health or medical condition
  • Tell us about any respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult for your child, as it may limit the effectiveness of the nitrous oxide
  • Let us know if your child is taking any medication on the day of the appointment

Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral conscious sedation is most commonly used during extensive procedures, such as fillings, crowns and extractions. Kids with dental phobias, who are very fearful, or very young kids for whom it is difficult to sit still, and patients with special needs can benefit greatly from sedation.
Sedation is endorsed by the American Dental Association, and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry(AAPD) and is an effective way to keep your child comfortable during their dental treatment. We follow sedation guidelines set by the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the AAPD. There are a variety of different medications, which can be used for conscious sedation. Dr. Meggan will prescribe the medication best suited for your child’s overall health and dental treatment recommendations. We will be happy to answer any questions you might have concerning the specific drugs we plan to give to your child.

Prior to your appointment:

  • Please notify us of any change in your child’s health and/or medical condition. Do not bring your child for treatment with a fever, ear infection or cold. Should your child become ill, contact us to see if it is necessary to postpone the appointment.
  • You must tell Dr. Meggan about any drugs your child is currently taking and any drug reactions or changes in medical history.
  • Please dress your child in loose fitting, comfortable clothing.
  • Please make sure that your child uses the bathroom immediately prior to arriving at the office.
  • Your child should not have solid food for at least 6 hours prior to their sedation appointment, only clear liquids up to 4 hours before the appointment, with nothing in the mouth for the final 4 hours before the visit.
  • The child’s parent or legal guardian must remain at the office during the complete procedure.
  • Please watch your child closely while the medication is taking effect. Hold them in your lap or keep them close to you. Do not let them ‘run around.’
  • Your child will act drowsy and may become slightly excited at first.

After the appointment

  • Your child will be drowsy and will need to be monitored closely. Keep your child away from areas of potential harm and do not let your child run around.
  • If your child wants to sleep, place them on their side with their chin up. Wake your child every hour and encourage them to have something to drink in order to prevent dehydration. At first it is best to give your child sips of clear liquids to prevent nausea. The first meal should be light and easily digestible.
  • If your child vomits, help them bend over and turn their head to the side to insure that they do not inhale the vomit.
  • Because we use local anesthetic to numb your child’s mouth during the procedure, your child may have the tendency to bite or chew their lips, cheeks or tongue and rub and scratch their face after treatment. Please observe your child carefully to prevent any injury to these areas.
  • Please call our office for any questions or concerns that you might have.

In Office IV Sedation

Pediatric IV Sedation with a Board Certified Pediatric Anesthesiologist

I.V. Sedation is recommended for apprehensive children, very young children and children with special needs that will not feel comfortable with conscious sedation. Dr. Meggan performs the dental treatment in our office with the child anesthetized under I.V. sedation, which is administered and monitored by a pediatric anesthesiologist.

Prior to the appointment:

  • Please notify us of any change in your child’s health and/or medical condition. Do not bring your child for treatment with a fever, ear infection or cold. Should your child become ill, contact us to see if it is necessary to postpone the appointment.
  • You must tell the doctor of any drugs that your child is currently taking and any drug reactions and/or change in medical history.
  • Please dress your child in loose fitting, comfortable clothing.
  • Please make sure that your child goes to the bathroom immediately prior to arriving at the office.
  • Your child should not have milk or solid food after midnight prior to the scheduled procedure and clear liquids ONLY (water, apple juice, Gatorade) for up to 6 hours prior to the appointment.
  • The child’s parent or legal guardian must remain at the office during the complete procedure.

After the appointment:

  • Your child will be drowsy and will need to be monitored very closely. Keep your child away from areas of potential harm.
  • If your child wants to sleep, place them on their side with their chin up. Wake your child every hour and encourage them to have something to drink in order to prevent dehydration. At first it is best to give your child sips of clear liquids to prevent nausea. The first meal should be light and easily digestible.
  • If your child vomits, help them bend over and turn their head to the side to insure that they do not inhale the vomit
  • Prior to leaving the office, you will be given a detailed list of ‘Post-Op Instructions’ and an emergency contact number if needed.

Outpatient General Anesthesia

Outpatient General Anesthesia is recommended for apprehensive children, very young children, and children with special needs that cannot use either conscious or I.V. sedation. General anesthesia renders your child completely asleep. This would be similar to anesthesia used when having tonsils removed or a hernia repaired — and is only performed in a hospital or outpatient setting. While posing greater risks than other treatment methods, general anesthesia offers benefits deemed to 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 daily. The inherent risks if this is not chosen are multiple appointments, potential for physical restraint to complete treatment and possible emotional 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 the event that Dr. Meggan and the anesthesiologist feel your child would be best suited for treatment in a hospital setting, we will coordinate a visit to the operating room where Dr. Meggan and her team will complete the treatment.

Prior to your appointment:

  • Please notify us of any change in your child’s health. Do not bring your child for treatment with a fever, ear infection or cold. Should your child become ill, contact us to see if it is necessary to postpone the appointment.
  • You must tell Dr. Meggan about any drugs your child is currently taking and any drug reactions or change in medical history.
  • Please dress your child in loose fitting, comfortable clothing.
  • Your child should not have milk or solid food after midnight prior to the scheduled procedure and clear liquids ONLY (water, apple juice, Gatorade) for up to 6 hours prior to the appointment.
  • The child’s parent or legal guardian must remain at the hospital or surgical site waiting room during the complete procedure.

After the appointment:

  • Your child will be drowsy and will need to be monitored very closely. Keep your child away from areas of potential harm.
  • If your child wants to sleep, place them on their side with their chin up. Wake your child every hour and encourage them to drink to prevent dehydration. At first it is best to give your child sips of clear liquids to prevent nausea. The first meal should be light and easily digestible.
  • If your child vomits, help them bend over and turn their head to the side to insure that they do not inhale the vomit.
  • Prior to leaving the hospital or outpatient center, you will be given a detailed list of ‘Post-Op Instructions’ and an emergency contact number if needed.

Questions about your child’s dental health?

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