We are pleased to offer your child the option of comfortable, safe, and effective sedation dentistry. Our pediatric dental patients who benefit from sedation dentistry generally are afraid of being at the dentist or have a hard time sitting still, or they don’t stay numb using anesthetics when undergoing complex dental treatment like a root canal, extraction, or oral surgery.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry allows your pediatric dentist to provide a variety of dental treatments safely and comfortably for children who experience anxiety when visiting the dentist. There are three different levels of sedation that we use at Stellar Kids Dentistry to make sure your child stays relaxed and comfortable during treatments.
Level 1 - Nitrous Oxide or "Happy Gas"
Nitrous Oxide sedation is a commonly used and safe method to help kids feel better during dental treatments. It goes by different names like N2O, happy gas, or laughing gas. This special gas helps kids relax and makes any discomfort feel much less. It’s a clear gas that your child will comfortably breathe through their nose. It works quickly and wears off just as fast, usually in 2-3 minutes. It is always given in combination with pure oxygen so that your child actually breathes more oxygen than they would with breathing just normal air.
The advantages of Nitrous Oxide include:
- Eases anxiety- Your child will be more calm and relaxed. This helps ensure they will have a more comfortable and positive dental experience. When your child is calm and comfortable, it enables us to provide the highest quality of dental care.
- Taking the edge off dull pain, pressure, and discomfort. – This is particularly useful for procedures like extractions or more involved treatments, especially when combined with the right local anesthetic.
- Reduced visceral gag reflex- This is especially helpful for X-rays and orthodontic impressions.
- Increased Patience: Children have shorter attention spans and their minds are full of curiosity and always on the go. Using nitrous oxide often helps many kiddos stay perfectly calm and still throughout their entire dental visit.
With nitrous oxide, lots of kids talk about this nice floating feeling, a little tingling in their fingers and toes, and a sense of warmth and relaxation. Every now and then, they might even feel super happy, a bit light-headed, and get those contagious “giggles.”
Before the appointment, it’s a good idea to opt for a light and easily digestible meal. If your child happens to have a cold, allergies, congestion, or difficulty breathing through the nose on the treatment day, just know that nitrous oxide might not work as well in those cases.
Level 2- Oral (Conscious) Sedation
Every now and then, kiddos might feel extra anxious or their treatment could be a bit more intricate, making nitrous oxide alone not quite enough. In such cases, Oral Conscious sedation offers an option to ease those nerves. Your child will be offered 1-2 teaspoons of Versed (Midazolam) mixed with some flavored Tylenol (acetaminophen) about 10 minutes before the treatment.
What does Versed do?– Versed is a safe and highly effective oral medication we use to help children feel more at ease and less anxious along with a few other effects mentioned below. It is in the same class of drugs as Valium, but stronger and has a shorter duration of effect.
- Anxiolysis: It helps to calm and relax your child and helps decrease panic and anxiety. (this benefit lasts about 40-45 minutes).
- Amnesia: Your child will have a fuzzy memory about the appointment (lasts about 1 hour).
- Muscle Relaxation: Your child’s coordination will be impaired after the appointment (lasts about 2-3 hours).
During the appointment, your child will be awake and can even watch a movie they like. We use Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) to hide the taste of the midazolam. These medications also make sure your child has a pain reliever in their system after the dental procedure is done.
When we give your child the oral sedative medication, we pair it with a mix of Oxygen and Nitrous oxide. Oxygen is like a safety net, making sure your child is breathing well and safely. Nitrous oxide acts like a fine-tuner for the sedation effect. And don’t worry, if it’s needed, we’ll still numb the area we’re working on using local anesthetic. Our goal is to make sure your child feels completely at ease throughout the process.
To ensure your child’s safety, we ask that parents and caregivers remain outside the clinical area during oral sedation. Your child’s well-being is our top priority, and this measure helps us provide the best care possible.
Level 3- General Anesthesia (Deep Sedation)
We may recommend general anesthesia when your child has:
- Extensive restorative or surgical needs
- Impacted wisdom teeth
- Pre-cooperative age
- Treatment needs for which local anesthetic will be ineffective
- ASD or other special medical/behavioral needs
Dental treatment under general anesthesia is a safe and thorough option. Here at Stellar Kids Dentistry, we take every precaution to ensure your child’s well-being. That’s why we always have two doctors looking after your little one at the same time. With our board-certified anesthesiologist keeping a close eye, your child will be peacefully asleep, feeling safe and comfortable throughout the procedure. Our pediatric dentist will then step in to provide the best possible dental treatment for your child’s healthy smile.
At Stellar Kids, our clinical team is not only friendly but also genuinely caring. We want the entire experience to be as comfortable as possible for both your child and you as a parent. To ensure maximum safety, your child will be taken back to the operating room on their own. There, they’ll breathe through a mask with a special gas that’ll gently help them fall ‘asleep’. Our skilled anesthesiologist will then step in to place an IV and a breathing tube, ensuring their airway is secure and protected. After that, your dedicated pediatric dentist will take care of all the necessary dental work. When everything’s done, we’ll remove the breathing tube and IV before your child wakes up. You’ll be reunited with your child in our recovering room, just as they’re gently waking up. Rest assured, we’ll be there every step of the way, ensuring a safe and smooth process for your child’s dental care.
Our anesthesiologist will tailor their medication and techniques to suit your child perfectly. When it comes to the three stages of deep sedation, the main medications our anesthesiologist might use include:
Induction (Starting- getting them to sleep): Inhalational Sevoflurane
Maintenance (Keeping them asleep): Propofol
Recovery (Restoring them to consciousness):
- Toradol – to manage postoperative pain and discomfort
- Zofran – to minimize nausea and vomiting
- Dexamethasone – to decrease swelling, nausea, and vomiting.
To ensure the utmost safety for your child, parents, and caregivers must remain outside the operating room throughout the entire surgical procedure. Your cooperation in this matter is greatly appreciated. You will see your child soon in recovery!
We work with the best outpatient anesthesia providers in Washington State, M2 Anesthesia.
Dr. Marlon Michel and his team have been an integral part of the Stellar Kids Dentistry family since 2014, bringing their expertise in anesthesia services. These seasoned doctors specialize in pediatric outpatient dental anesthesia and uphold the utmost safety standards. Their commitment to both skill and compassion is unparalleled. M2 takes pride in their exceptional customer service, working closely with families to ensure safe and cost-effective pediatric anesthesia solutions.
“Please contact our practice to schedule a consultation, learn more about sedation dentistry, and find out which sedation dentistry method may be right for your child.”