It is quite common for a child to be somewhat afraid or anxious at the dental office. Our office environment and staff are all geared to creating a positive and comfortable environment for children. However, some children will still need a little extra help to get through a procedure. Here at 3 Rivers Pediatric Dentistry, we offer a number of sedation options to help your child feel comfortable during their treatment.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a common, safe, and convenient way to help children who experience mild anxiety receive the dental treatment they need without fear. It also helps well-behaving children cooperate for longer treatment appointments. Once treatment is complete, the laughing gas will be completely out of their system within a few minutes.

Minimal Conscious Sedation

If your child is anxious, has special needs, or is unable to relax with the laughing gas, we can help with sedation dentistry. Dr. Foster and Dr. Ziegler have had extensive training in sedation options including oral sedation and general anesthesia at the hospital when needed. We always follow the guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry for the administration of sedation and general anesthesia. Minimal (conscious) sedation is commonly used for the treatment of fear and anxiety with dental procedures. Some children will require a slightly deeper level of sedation to complete necessary dental work. During minimal sedation, your child will remain awake, able to respond to verbal requests, but may be somewhat altered. This method of treatment is recommended for mildly apprehensive or anxious children.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sedation

Why would my child need sedation?

Dentistry can be hard for children. There are noises, tastes and sensations that can be difficult for a child to tolerate. Children who are anxious and fearful will benefit from this modality. Children who are pre-cooperative or have extensive needs, may need minimal or moderate sedation to get through the procedure.

Is sedation safe?

Minimal sedation and the medicines we use are very safe. Our doctors have specialized training to treat patients in office with sedation. Your child’s vitals will be monitored closely during treatment and afterwards to ensure safety. Please discuss all medications, including over the counter products that your child takes regularly. In most circumstance you will be able to give your child ONLY medications that he/she takes routinely (example: seizure meds, antibiotics or medications prescribed by your child’s physician.) DO NOT give any other medications before or after treatment without confirming with our office first.

Will my child be emotional at this appointment?

Your child may become emotional during his/her sedation appointment. Your child will be awake throughout the appointment. This is how some children react to the dental environment and treatment. Benefits of the medication’s amnesia property are seen after treatment, days and weeks, usually months later.

Prior to your appointment

  • Please notify us of any change in your child’s health and/or medical condition.
  • Consult our office if your child has a fever, ear infection or cold or any respiratory issues within 2 weeks of the sedation appointment. Should your child become ill, contact us to see if it is necessary to postpone the appointment.
  • Inform the doctor of any prescriptions that your child is currently taking and any drug reactions or change in medical history.
  • Please dress your child in loose fitting, comfortable clothing.
  • Please make sure that your child goes to the bathroom immediately prior to arriving at the office.
  • Your child should not have solid food for at least 6 hours prior to their sedation appointment, and should only consume clear liquids for up to 4 hours before the appointment.
  • The child’s parent or legal guardian must remain at the office during the complete procedure.
  • Please watch your child closely while the medication is taking effect. Do not leave them unattended.
  • Your child will act drowsy and may become slightly excited at first.

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Patient Forms

Save yourself some time! Here are some links to download commonly-needed forms that require processing prior to your visit.