Our most mild sedation option is nitrous oxide or laughing gas. Nitrous oxide is administered through a small mask that fits over your child’s nose and it is an effective way to calm anxiety. As your child breathes through his or her nose, the gas will produce a calming feeling. Your child will remain awake and will still be able to talk to the dentist. We often describe the affects of nitrous oxide as the warm and fuzzy feeling a child gets when tucked away in a sleeping bag on a camping trip! At the end of your child’s appointment, he or she will breathe pure oxygen for several minutes and the effects of the nitrous will disappear.
Oral conscious sedation
For some children where the mild affects of nitrous oxide alone are not strong enough, we offer an oral conscious sedation option. In addition to breathing nitrous, your child will drink a liquid medicine that will make them feel drowsy and “woozy.” One of the greatest benefits of this option is that many children will not remember the visit due to the amnesia properties of the medicine. Dr. Derek and Dr. Craig are certified in sedation continuing education and follow all protocols developed by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. For an oral conscious sedation visit, your child is not allowed to eat or drink 8 hours prior to the visit in order to assure the stomach is empty. For the rest of the day after the appointment, your child will be sleepy and we recommend minimal activity and resting at home.
IV Sedation/General Anesthesia
IV Sedation, also called general anesthesia, uses medications to allow your child to go to sleep for his or her dental treatment. Children with special needs or high levels of anxiety may benefit from IV Sedation. General anesthesia can also be a good option for patients with extensive tooth decay or for patients who are undergoing surgical dental procedures. During these procedures your child’s breathing, heart rate, and other vital signs will be carefully monitored by a dental anesthesiologist. Dr. Derek and Dr. Craig can discuss the risks and benefits of general anesthesia to help you decide if this is a good choice for your child. Our office is unique in that we exclusively offer our anesthesia services during weekend hours, the only office in the state of Colorado able to do so. This reduces time lost from school for your child and time away from work for parents.