Sedation During Dental Procedures

Nitrous Oxide

Many children are given nitrous oxide and oxygen to help them relax them for their dental treatment. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognizes the use of nitrous as a very safe, effective practice. The gas is inhaled through a mask immediately prior to dental treatment, and then is quickly eliminated from the body after by breathing normally. Nitrous is non-addictive, and your child will remain fully conscious through the procedure. If it is decided that nitrous would be beneficial for your child, please inform us of the following prior to treatment:

  • Any medical conditions
  • Any medications your child is currently taking
  • If your child has a respiratory condition impairing his or her ability to breathe through the nose.

Conscious Sedation

If your child is unable to tolerate dental treatment because they are very young, are apprehensive or have special needs, Dr. Rabitz may recommend the use of conscious sedation. A liquid (oral) sedative will be given to your child to drink and your child will become drowsy. Your child will remain conscious through the procedure. There are different medications which can be used, and Dr. Rabitz will choose the medication best suited for your child considering their health history and dental needs. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have concerning the specific medication we plan to give to your child.

In Office General Anesthesia

If your child is unable to tolerate conscious sedation, or has extensive dental treatment needs, Dr. Rabitz may recommend In Office General Anesthesia. A Pediatric Anesthesiologist is present to administer general anesthesia and monitor your child in our office. These highly-trained physicians provide anesthesia to infants and children everyday at Children’s Hospital Oakland and the offices of twenty pediatric dentists. All have subspecialty (fellowship) training in pediatric anesthesia and are board-certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology.

Outpatient General Anesthesia

If your child has a medical condition or special needs and requires extensive dental treatment, Dr. Rabitz may recommend performing treatment in the hospital setting. A Pediatric Anesthesiologist is present to administer general anesthesia and monitor your child. In the hospital setting there is greater capacity for patient monitoring and access to medical specialists in the event of a medical emergency. Your child will be monitored for a short time after the procedure, and will be able to go home that same day. Dr. Rabitz has hospital privileges at Community Hospital of Los Gatos and Kaiser Santa Clara.

Pre and Post Op Instructions for your Conscious Sedation

In Office General Anesthesia/Hospital General Anesthesia appointment:

The night before your appointment:

  • Please make sure your child does not eat anything for at least 8 hours prior to the appointment. We usually recommend no food after 10pm the night before.

The day of your appointment:

  • Please notify us of any change in your child’s health and/or medical condition. If your child is ill, contact us as soon as possible to determine if it may be necessary to postpone the appointment.
  • Inform us of all medications your child is currently taking.
  • Dress your child in loose fitting, comfortable clothing.
  • Make sure your child uses the bathroom prior to the appointment and/or wears a diaper if needed.
  • A parent must remain present at the office for the complete procedure

After the sedation appointment:

  • Your child will be drowsy for several hours and will need to be monitored very closely.
  • If your child wants to sleep, place them on their side and check on them frequently.
  • Encourage your child to drink liquids in order to prevent dehydration. At first it is best to give your child sips of clear liquids. The first meal should be light and easily digestible.
  • As a local anesthetic will also be used, make sure your child does not bite or chew their lip or cheek while these areas are numb.
  • Post treatment instructions will be given after your appointment.

Please call our office with any questions.

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