What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry refers to the use of sedation during dental treatment. Children with high anxiety, major dental treatment needs, of a very young age, physical handicaps or strong gag reflexes may require sedation. Procedures like fillings, crowns, pulpotomies, and extractions, often require sedation in young children. Sedation can range from the use of nitrous oxide to calm a patient to IV sedation/general anesthetics used to put patients to sleep.
Dr. Davidson has received extensive training in sedating children and strictly follows clinical guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry when sedating a child for dental treatment. Before using any sedative or anesthetic, it is important to tell your pediatric dentist about any medications or medical treatments your child is 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, or “laughing gas” as it is commonly known, is a common sedative used during dental procedures. It is administered in a mixture with oxygen and inhaled through a mask placed over the nose. When inhaled, it has a calming effect that helps anxious patients relax during a procedure, yet since it is a mild sedative, patients are still conscious and can talk to their pediatric dentist during their visit. Once treatment is completed, oxygen is administered for 5-10 minutes to help flush out any remaining gas. The sedative effects wear off almost immediately and side effects are rare, although some individuals may experience minor nausea or constipation. If it is determined nitrous oxide is appropriate for your child, we will go over pre- and post-sedation instructions with you.
IV sedation/General Anesthesia
IV Sedation/General Anesthesia, or being “put to sleep” is a controlled state of unconsciousness. It is performed by a trained anesthesiologist, who monitors your child while they are “asleep”, as their pediatric dentist completes their dental work. IV sedation/General Anesthesia can be completed in both a hospital setting or in the office. Dr. Davidson is on staff at St. Peter’s Hospital in Olympia, Wa where he has operating room (OR) privileges in both the hospital OR as well as the outpatient OR. Most dental procedures are performed in the outpatient OR (ie you go home within 1-2 hours after the surgery). We also offer in-office IV sedation/general anesthesia where we bring in a trained, licensed, board-certified anesthesiologist (M2 Anesthesia) to treat your child.
If IV sedation/general anesthesia is deemed appropriate for your child, Dr. Davidson and his staff will go over DETAILED instructions for the procedure leading up to the sedation appointment as well as what to expect when you go home after the surgery. The anesthesia team will also provide similar instructions.