Sedation dentistry refers to the use of a sedative during dental treatment. Sedation is most commonly used during extensive procedures, for patients with dental phobia or for patients who find it difficult to sit still. Sedation can range from the use of nitrous oxide ("laughing gas") to calm a patient to general anesthetics used to put patients to sleep. Patients with dental phobia, low pain tolerance, major dental treatment needs, physical handicaps and strong gag reflexes may require sedation. Procedures like fillings, crowns, root canals and extractions may often require sedation. These types of pharmacological management of a patient, are endorsed by all dental associations and is an effective way to manage patients during their dental visit. Before using a sedative or anesthetic, it is important to tell us about any medications or medical treatments you are receiving. Before administering any sedative or anesthetic, we will talk to you about the process of sedation and pre- and post-sedation instructions.
Nitrous Oxide and Oxygen Sedation ("Laughing Gas")
Drs. Hersch and Butler will frequently use nitrous oxide and oxygen sedation on young or anxious children and adolescents. This sedative, more commonly known as "laughing 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 dentist during their visit. This calming gas is used as an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), analgesic (anti-pain) and also has amnesic properties at higher does. After treatment, the nitrous is turned off and 100% oxygen is administered for five minutes to flush out any remaining gas. The effects wear off almost immediately and side effects are rare. Rarely, children will experience minor nausea after using nitrous oxide and oxygen sedation. Nitrous oxide is non-addictive, is easily administered, and is rapidly eliminated from the body once turned off. We will provide you with pre- and post-sedation instructions.
IV Sedation/General Anesthesia
In cases where the safety of a child is compromised due to excessive movement or lack of cooperation, Dr. Hersch and Dr. Butler may recommend IV sedation or general anesthesia. This deeper sedation, often times, is the only method for treating those with special needs, children under the age of 4, children that are very anxious, or children that have extremely severe dental problems. In the event that we do recommend IV sedation for a child, Dr. Hersch and Dr. Butler calls upon Dr. Ivan Reese, our designated dental anesthesiologist, to administer medication to allow a child to comfortably and safely receive dental care. We have your child’s best interest and comfort in mind.