Sedation Dentistry for Kids
Sedation dentistry can assist families who have children with a high level of anxiety, kids who have quite a bit of treatment to complete, or those with special needs. Sedation is helpful in ensuring children receive the oral care they need in a comfortable environment free of emotional or psychological trauma. At Great Grins for KIDS - Portland, we offer oral conscious sedation and general anesthesia for our patients. Many times children who begin treatment with sedation are eventually able to complete treatment using only Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) because they have built up confidence in the comfort of their care.
Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas) Sedation
Nitrous oxide is an odorless gas that is, other than pure oxygen, probably the safest drug in our office. We always give more oxygen with our nitrous oxide than is present in room air so it is very safe.The gas is applied by a cap over the nose and it only lasts as long as it is being breathed. We have monitors that detect the number of breaths taken while sedated and we take blood pressure both before and after using nitrous oxide. It is really surprising how comfortable patients feel when using nitrous oxide and almost everyone can benefit from feeling less pain and more happiness!
Oral Conscious Sedation
The sedation medicines reduce anxiety, increase sleepiness, and increase happiness. Conscious sedation means that patients are awake and aware of what is happening but they are more relaxed and less concerned. Oral just means that the medicine is swallowed, not given by injection.
When children need oral conscious sedation, we will schedule about two hours to complete the treatment appointment. Your child will be given several medications by mouth about one hour prior to their treatment. This medicine will help lower their inhibitions and may make them sleepy, although the sedatives are not intended to put your child to sleep.
The sedation medicines given also have a slight amnesia effect. We talk very positively around your child during their appointment so that if they remember anything, it will be a good, happy feeling.
It is extremely important that you follow all guidelines and instructions regarding food and liquids the day prior to, and the day of, the appointment. A child's safety is of utmost importance during a sedation appointment, so if the sedation guidelines are not followed completely, the appointment will be rescheduled and a re-booking fee may apply.
General Anesthesia (In-Office & In-Hospital)
Conscious sedation does not work well for some children, such as:
|•||Children too young to understand the need to sit still while their teeth are repaired
|•||Children with extensive dental repair needs
|•||Children with special mental or psychological needs, such as high anxiety
|•||Kids who have serious medical conditions|
In these situations, we may recommend general anesthesia that puts kids completely asleep. Depending upon your child's medical condition, we will make this full-sleep option available to you either in our office, or in the hospital. Children with medical concerns will be seen in the hospital. Perfectly healthy children can be seen in either our office or in the hospital.
The difference between in-office and in-hospital are how much they cost, how much time it takes, and what level of medical support may be needed. Hospitals offer the best medial support but can cost 10 times as much (depending on your insurance, it may cost $10,000) and they take 100 times as long to wake up and leave as the in-office option (you may stay at the hospital for 4 hours after the dental care is done but in-office you typically leave in 20 minutes).
We have a partnership with well-established and experienced anesthesiologists who provide in-office general anesthesia. They visit our office weekly to assist with patients who need to be completely asleep for their treatment.
Both in-office and in-hospital general anesthesia is started by having the child breath in anesthetic gases through a mask. This means that they are asleep before any shots or IV is started. During anesthesia, your child will be constantly monitored throughout the appointment to handle any concerns that may arise.
For more information, or if you'd like to schedule an appointment, please give us a call at (971) 470-0054.