Sedation and General Anesthesia
Pediatric dental sedation is one of several treatment options available to you and your child at Chelsea Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics. The extent
of the dental work necessary along with your child's ability to tolerate the delivery of the dental care are the two main components in deciding whether sedation and what level of sedation are right
for your child. Offering and providing safe and optimal pediatric dental care to all the children of Greater Boston and beyond is the goal of the pediatric dentists and staff at Chelsea Pediatric
Dentistry and Orthodontics.
Why and when is sedation used?
Sedation is necessary when a child is unable to tolerate the routine delivery of dental care. This may be because the child is too young to understand why dental
treatment is necessary. The child's age may not be a factor at all when anxiety is the reason for the inability to cooperate. Medical history of an emotional, mental or physical handicap also
justifies the need for sedation. Lastly, amount of dental work needed, with or without any of the reasons already listed above may qualify a patient for sedation.
What are the different types of sedation?
- Nitrous Oxide is an inhalation gas that helps alleviate fears and raises tolerance to discomfort. Also known as "Laughing Gas" or "Happy Air", it is
very safe and the most common sedative used in pediatric dentistry and available here at Chelsea Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics. Please see our page on Nitrous Oxide for more
- Oral Sedation is recommended for young children with a mild to moderate level of apprehension and a minimal amount of dental work. The medication is
taken orally, usually in the form of a liquid thereby absorbed by the stomach. It takes effect within 20 to 30 minutes of ingestion and stays in effect for 30 to 60 minutes depending on the sedative
agent or combination of sedative agents used. The child usually will feel drowsy and can fall asleep but is easily awakened with minimal stimulation. Once its effects begin to wear off we cannot
prolong the sedation by giving more.
- IV Sedation is a slightly deeper and more controlled state of unconsciousness where in the child is asleep and mildly insulated from external stimuli.
It is very predictable when compared to oral sedation and is effective for a child of any age. It is typically reserved for those patients who have a moderate to severe level of anxiety and simply
cannot and will not cooperate in the dental chair. At Chelsea Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, IV (intra-venous) sedation is the second most common form of sedation that we use after Nitrous
Oxide. A physician (medical doctor) anesthesiologist is part of our dental team and administers the sedation procedure so the pediatric dentist can concentrate on the dentistry. This form of
sedation, unlike oral sedation, can be prolonged by administering more via the IV. However, like oral sedation, treatment is performed in the office and you and your child will go home soon after the
visit is over.
- General Anesthesia is a deep level of sedation that is performed at a hospital or outpatient surgical center. A medical team comprised of an
anesthesiologist, nurse anesthetist and surgical room nurse is used to safely sedate your child in this very controlled environment. General anesthesia is usually reserved for young patients, any
patient with extensive dental needs or a patient who is medically compromised with a mental or physical handicap, or other condition. General anesthesia allows the pediatric dentist to complete all
the necessary dental work regardless of the length of time required to so.
Am I involved in the decision?
Of course! You as the parent are part of the team as well. Please know that our goal, here at Chelsea Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, is to provide the
most favorable dental experience possible. Sometimes, some level of sedation is necessary to achieve that goal for the reasons already listed above. Treatment options are always discussed and
explained until you are comfortable with the knowledge. Depending on your child's age, need and medical condition, one or more options will be available for discussion and consideration.
Schedule an appointment today!
Call (617) 889-KIDS (5437)