There are always risks associated with receiving sedation, especially with more intense doses. However, when administered by a certified and experienced professional who monitors your child's vital signs, sedation for kids is considered safe. Some forms of sedation are at lower risk than others.
Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is the most minimal, least invasive sedative in sedation dentistry so it is associated with the least risk. This is why we opt for laughing gas to relax children who are nervous, restless, or unable to cooperate during dental procedures. IV sedation carries an increased risk because it puts you to sleep, though you are not fully unconscious.
However, it is comparatively safer than general anesthesia. Dr. Jonathon Konz will go over your medical history with you to determine if you are a good candidate for sedation and if you have any conditions or any lifestyle behaviors that will increase your risk of complications.
If you would like for your child to be sedated during their next dental appointment at Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry in Ashburn, contact us online or give us a call at (703) 687-1581.
Also known as nitrous oxide, this sedative is administered through a nasal mask to be inhaled by the patient. A flow of nitrous oxide gas and some oxygen is inhaled and quickly makes the patient feel relaxed.
This is not the best form of sedation for everyone. Because the sedative is mild, children with severe dental anxiety may need something stronger to relieve their nerves. After the treatment is done, the mask will be flooded with oxygen to eliminate any remnants of the laughing gas in the body.
It will only take a few minutes for the patient to return to a normal state. Patients should not eat for 2 hours before receiving laughing gas or they run the risk of feeling nauseous and may throw up.
This form of sedation is also known as deep sedation or twilight sedation because it can put a patient to sleep. However, this depends on the dosage, which can range from mild to deep sedation. The sedative is administered to a vein through an IV. Your child will need to prepare for IV sedation by fasting for 6-8 hours before the procedure.
Mild sedation administered through IV will cause the pediatric patient to feel drowsy but not necessarily fall asleep. This is usually reserved for more complex procedures or for patients who have severe dental anxiety at our Ashburn office.
The experience depends on the type of sedative being taken as well as the dosage. Even two patients taking the same sedative in the same dosage can have different reactions. Laughing gas tends to make patients feel relaxed, euphoric, and giggly.
The reason it is nicknamed laughing gas is that many patients burst into a fit of laughter. Other effects include feeling a tingly sensation in the arms and legs, possible hallucinations, and a slower reaction time. The patient may or may not remember the treatment afterward and some pediatric patients are very sleepy or may fall asleep. However, it will be easy to wake up.
In comparison, IV sedation is a higher dosage of sedation than nitrous oxide and will make the patient feel extremely sleepy. It may be difficult to stay awake and even harder to remember the procedure. If the dosage administered through the vein is milder, then the patient may be able to communicate during the procedure.
Unlike general anesthesia, the child is still conscious and may remain awake during the procedure. All of the sedative effects such as sleepiness and relaxation are amplified in IV sedation compared to laughing gas.