Sedation Dentistry in Tewksbury, MA

sedation dentistry

Comfortable Dentistry

Our care provides for your child’s comfort and well-being during dental procedures. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the use of these dental aids, please feel free to discuss them with us. We want you to feel comfortable with the methods of care in our office.

Local Anesthetic:

We prefer to call it "sleepy drops." This is used to numb an area of gum, bone, and teeth. The size of an area numbed (from one tooth to the side of the jaw) varies with the method used to place the anesthetic in the tissue. We attempt to give this in a manner that reduces a child’s awareness of the injection. The area numbed may remain "sleepy" up to one or two hours after your child leaves the office. A child who has had lips, cheeks or tongue numbed should be watched to reduce the chance of injury by chewing or pinching the area. While it is rare to find someone who has had a reaction to the anesthetic, we need to know of any past history of a problem.

Relative Analgesia:

We call it "laughing gas" or "happy gas." This is used to reduce fear/anxiety, improve patient cooperation, improve tolerance for longer appointments and reduce gagging so that comfortable, quality dental care can be achieved. "Happy gas" is a combination of Nitrous Oxide and Oxygen which is breathed by the child with the aid of a nose piece. Your child can talk and is aware of sounds and sights around him or her. Some children may take a nap because they are relaxed. Some may have tingling fingers, toes or lips, or feel like they are on a space ride or a merry-go-round or just feel heavy. This is not anesthesia and is not used to "put" your child to sleep. Usually a child is clear of its effect after 3-5 minutes of breathing oxygen.

Conscious Sedation:

There are often times when a young child is unable to tolerate dental treatment. This may be because of anxiety, the child’s age, or the amount of treatment required to restore a healthy smile. During these situations, we may recommend medicine to help the child relax. Our goal is to develop a positive relationship with your child and conscious sedation eliminates obstacles that may affect that outcome.

I am nervous about my young child being unconscious. What levels of sedation are available?

There is no need to be nervous about having sedation dentistry at our practice. We are licensed by the American Dental Association, and you will find that we are both respectful and professional at all times.

Sedation dentistry is closely regulated by law, and there are three sedative states at which your dentist can administer your treatment: mild sedation, moderate sedation, and deep sedation, however, we only offer mild sedation.

  • Mild Sedation — Anxiolysis is the lightest form of sedation dentistry and is often used for patients with mild anxiety, longer procedures, or more complex situations. Mild sedation is usually administered orally. You remain awake or very sleepy throughout the entire procedure and are able to breathe on your own, but you will feel a great sense of relaxation. Patients typically recover from anxiolysis sedation within a few hours after the procedure is complete. Nitrous oxide inhalation (laughing gas) is another form of mild to moderate sedation that results in relaxation during treatment.

How are sedatives administered?

  • Inhalation — Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is the most frequently used method for easing mild to moderate anxiety. Recovery is quick so you can resume your normal activities immediately.
  • Oral — An extremely common technique for dental sedation is oral sedation. It is easy but in most cases still requires the use of a local anesthetic. You will be given a prescription pill which, taken about an hour before your appointment, will have you fully relaxed by the time you arrive at our office.

Please contact our practice to schedule a consultation, learn more about sedation dentistry, and find out which sedation dentistry method may be right for your child.

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