Sedation dentistry refers to the use of sedation during dental treatment. Sedation is commonly used during extensive procedures, for patients with dental phobia or patients who find it difficult to sit still. There are different types of sedation, including nitrous oxide ("laughing gas"), IV sedation, oral sedatives and general anesthetic.
Sedation can range from the use of nitrous oxide to calm a patient to general anesthetics used to put patients to sleep. Patients with dental phobia, low pain tolerance, major dental treatment, physical handicaps or strong gag reflexes may require sedation. Procedures like fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, extractions, cosmetic procedures and periodontal treatments often require sedation.
Sedation is endorsed by the American Dental Association and is an effective way to make many patients comfortable during their dental visit. Before using a sedative or anesthetic, it is important to tell your pediatric dentist about any medications or medical treatments your child is receiving. Before administering any sedative or anesthetic, your dentist will talk to you about the process of sedation and pre- and post-sedation instructions.
Nitrous oxide, more commonly known as laughing gas, is often used as a conscious sedative during a dental visit. The gas is administered with a mixture of oxygen and has a calming effect that helps phobic or anxious patients relax during their dental treatment. Because it is a mild sedative, patients are still conscious and can talk to their pediatric dentist during their visit. After treatment, the nitrous is turned off and oxygen is administered for five to 10 minutes to help flush any remaining gas. The effects wear off almost immediately. Nitrous oxide rarely has side effects, although some patients may experience minor nausea and constipation. Your pediatric dentist will provide you with pre- and post-sedation instructions.
In office sedation is recommended for children with anxiety that will be able to tolerate treatment in office with the help of medications. The doctor will determine if your child is a good candidate for in office sedation after reviewing their health history and treatment needs. Not all children are good candidates for in office sedation.
The quantity and the type of sedation medication is determined on the day of sedation based on patient's weight, anxiety and the type of dental procedure being performed. The medication will be administered to the child in office and the child and parent must remain in the office while the sedation medication starts taking effect. The child will be monitored during and after sedation. The child will be discharged after they have met the criteria for discharge. It is important that you keep your child at home the day of the sedation and allow the child to rest while the sedation effects wear off.
If the doctor recommends in office sedation our staff will go over with you in detail as to how to prepare your child for a sedation visit.
Outpatient General Anesthesia is recommended for apprehensive children, very young children, and/or children with special needs that would not work well under conscious sedation. General anesthesia renders your child completely asleep. This would be the same as if he/she was having their tonsils removed, ear tubes, or hernia repaired. This is performed in a hospital setting by professionals trained to administer anesthesia.
If general anesthesia is recommended for your child our doctor and staff will go over with you in detail about how to prepare for a hospital appointment.
Dr. Davar has hospital privileges at Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace and at Upper Chesapeake Hospital in Bel Air.