Sedation Questions

What  is Sedation?

Sedation is endorsed by American Dental Association and is a technique to guide a child’s behavior during dental treatment. Medications are used to help increase cooperation and to reduce anxiety or discomfort associated with dental procedures. Sedative medications cause most children to become relaxed and drowsy. Unlike general anesthesia, sedation is not intended to make a patient unconscious or unresponsive.

Who Should Be Sedated For Dental Treatment?

Sedation may be indicated for children who have a level of anxiety that prevents good coping skills, those who are very young and do not understand how to cope in a cooperative fashion, or those requiring extensive dental treatment. Sedation can also be helpful for some patients who have special needs.

Why Utilize Sedation?

Sedation is used for a child’s safety and comfort during dental procedures. It allows the child to cope better with dental treatment and helps prevent injury to the child from uncontrolled or undesirable movements. Sedation promotes a better environment for providing dental care.

What Medications Are Used?

Various medications can be used to sedate a child. Medicines will be selected based upon your child’s overall health, level of anxiety and dental treatment recommendations.

Is Sedation Safe?

Sedation can be used safely and effectively when administered by a pediatric dentist who follows the sedation guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. 

Sedation Options

Nitrous Oxide - Laughing Gas

Nitrous Oxide is a safe and effective way of providing your child with the dental treatment they need. At Pediatric Dentistry of Haslet, we use nitrous oxide sedation to reduce the fear and anxiety your child may be having about their dental appointment. Nitrous oxide is often referred to as laughing gas and can be beneficial in pain management. It also works well for children who experience a gag reflex when having dental treatment.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation is also known as conscious sedation. This  requires the patient to drink a sedative medication.  Most patients will reach a moderate level of sedation which means their eyes may be closed but can respond to stimulation, verbal or tactile. This is usually comparative to your child taking a nap but that can be aroused. The patient will need to be numbed with a local anesthetic because they can feel pain if they are not numbed.  It may take more than one dental visit based on the amount of numbing local anesthetic your child can have based on their weight. We use two different sedation medications in-office and both have reversal agents (a medication that can be administered to reverse the effects of the sedative.)

The first sedative agent is short acting and starts to work in about 15 minutes, it also wears off fast. The child is very wobbly and loopy but usually awake for treatment. 75% of the time the child has amnesia for an hour or two from the time they drank the sedative.  This is ideal for very short procedures.

The second is a longer acting sedative and starts working between 45 minutes to an hour.  You likely will not notice much difference in your child until they are placed on laughing gas and then local anesthesia is administered. Most children get sleepy with this sedative and have a euphoric experience.  Most children will nap for at least part of the sedation and do well for treatment for about an hour or more.

It is important to note that anything that makes your child sleepy can slow breathing. Your child's safety is our first priority. Your child will be re-evaluated immediately before being sedated. If your child is sick or the doctor feels it is unsafe to sedate your child the appointment may have to be postponed.   

Reversal agent dosages are pre calculated and placed on the counter next to the patient for the sedation. Your child's vitals will be monitored continuously and recorded every 5 minutes. If your child is sleeping Dr. Ashcroft will use a precordial stethoscope to listen to every breath your child is taking.  Dr. Ashcroft has 2 dental assistants in the room at the time of sedation, one whose primary responsibility is monitoring the sedation. Close monitoring and addressing any issues early is the key to patient safety. Dr. Ashcroft has had 14 months of IV sedation training and 3 years of hospital dental training including anesthesia rotations managing general anesthesia, and years of in-office experience. He also has Pediatric Advanced Life Support training. He places your child's safety first.

Other Information About Oral Sedation

Oral sedatives are least effective on 2-3 year old children. Some children have a poor airway and are not a candidate for an in office oral sedation. Some children have medical conditions that makes them poor candidates for oral sedation.

In-Office IV Sedation

 In-Office IV sedation is a good option for healthy children for whom nitrous or oral sedatives are ineffective. It is also ideal for patients with extreme anxiety when it comes to dental procedures, or for those who are having complex dental work that takes a longer period of time to complete. Although the patient is conscious, he or she remembers virtually nothing about the dental work being performed. The IV sedation services are performed by  independent and trusted anesthesiologists allowing Dr. Ashcroft to focus on your child's dental care. 

General Anesthesia - Hospital Dentistry

Dr. Ashcroft is credentialed at Cook Children's Medical Center in downtown Fort Worth at the Dodson Surgery Center which is on the lower level of the Dodson Clinic and at the main operating room on the 2nd floor at the main hospital.  He is also credentialed at Wise Health System hospital in Decatur, TX.

For children who are medically compromised or are poor candidates for in-office sedation due to poor airway, very young age, or other specific reasons general anesthesia may be the safest option for treatment. At Cook Children's your child will be sedated by a credentialed pediatric anesthesiologist.  The setting is similar to when children get ear tubes placed, tonsils and adenoids removed, or eye surgeries, except we are able to complete dental work.

Cook Children's Dodson Surgery Center

1500 Cooper St, Fort Worth, Texas 76104, United States

Wise Health System Hospital

609 Medical Center Dr, Decatur, Texas 76234, United States