Sedation Dentistry

Most dental procedures in children are completed using local anesthesia, however, very young, fearful or uncooperative children may also require sedation.  Small to Tall Pediatric Dentistry follows the administration guidelines for safe sedation endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

Using sedation safely is extremely important and this is why Drs. Rowley, Ruder, Shavron and Psaltis dedicate many continuing education hours specific to this topic.  We offer several different sedation options including: care with nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, in-office general anesthesia, and in-hospital general anesthesia.

Nitrous Oxide

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 anxious children relax during their dental treatment. Because it is a mild sedative, patients are still conscious and can talk to our team during their visit. After treatment, the nitrous is turned off and oxygen is administered for three to five 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/or vomiting.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral conscious sedation involves giving an oral medication, often in combination with nitrous oxide sedation which renders the child awake but relaxed for treatment.  We use a variety of different medications for this type of procedure.  Some are given in the office and some more mild sedatives we ask you to pick up at the pharmacy.   This is recommended for children that need a deeper level of sedation than nitrous oxide alone.

Sedation Dentistry in Olympia, WA

Sedation in Pediatric Dentistry can be extremely advantageous, and often vital, to the care of children during their dental procedures. The goal at Small to Tall Pediatric Dentistry is to safely administer sedation, minimize discomfort and pain and control anxiety. At times, sedation may be essential to modify behavior and movement to complete a procedure safely. After any sedative procedure, Small to Tall Pediatric Dentistry monitors the patient to ensure they are safe to be discharged. Small to Tall Pediatric Dentistry aims to give your family the best dental care while putting your child at ease to reinforce a lifetime of exceptional dental care without apprehension, anxiety or pain.

Here are a few common questions and concerns parents may ask before a sedative treatment:

What form of Sedation will be used?

Small to Tall Pediatric Dentistry caters treatment specifically to your child’s needs. The type of sedation used will depend on their level of anxiety, pain and ability to relax. Here is a brief summary of the sedative options:

  • Nitrous oxide / “Laughing Gas” – Nitrous oxide is the most common and least invasive form of sedation in pediatric dentistry. It works quickly, only taking a couple of minutes to relax an anxious child or relieve pain and its effects can be reversed just as quickly when the procedure is complete. Both safe and effective, this is a preferred option.
  • Oral Conscious Sedation – This is a form of medication (or combination of medications) that is used when your child needs a deeper form of sedation than merely nitrous oxide. With Oral Conscious Sedation, your child will be calm and awake but completely relaxed. Sometimes your child may not even remember the procedure.
  • General Anesthesia – This form of sedation is used for extensive treatments, extremely anxious and uncooperative children, or children with special needs. Under General Anesthesia, your child will be completely asleep and pain free. Small to Tall has a specially trained doctor who administers and monitors the general anesthesia throughout the treatment.

Who will provide the preoperative evaluation of my child?

Dr. Rowley, Dr. Ruder, Dr. Shavron and Dr. Callender each take sincere interest in your child and will review their medical history as well as any allergies, medications or hospitalizations. They are always willing to discuss any questions or concerns prior to treatments.

How long should my child need to refrain from food or drink prior to the procedure?

Nitrous oxide does not require you to be without food or drink. Depending on which form of sedation is to be used, you will be informed exactly how long your child needs to be without food.

What training does the doctor have to perform the sedation procedure?

Your child’s safety is of utmost importance to the team at Small to Tall Pediatric Dentistry. Small to Tall Pediatric Dentistry follows the guidelines for safe sedation by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Each doctor at Small to Tall Pediatric Dentistry has received PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) certification. They have undergone extensive training to specialize in the care of your child, toddler, teen, or child with special needs and are trained to give your child the best care possible.