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Sedation/ Hospital Dentistry

At Gentle Care Pediatric Dentistry we see many different children with many different challenges. While some children will accept dental treatment without fear, others have more anxiety and express more emotion during such procedures. Dr. Markos will assess your child's anxiety level and recommend the appropriate behavior management technique

  • Nitrous Oxide inhalation sedation
  • In office IV Sedation (with a Dental Anesthesiologist)
  • Hospital Based General Anesthesia 

Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)

Many children are calm, at ease, and secure in a pediatric dental office. Sometimes, however, a child feels anxious during treatment. Your child may need more than a gentle, caring manner to feel comfortable. We offer nitrous oxide/oxygen (sometimes called laughing gas or happy air) to make treatment easier for your child, who is mildly anxious. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognizes nitrous oxide/oxygen as safe and effective for treating children.

Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. When inhaled, it is absorbed by the body and has a calming effect. Normal breathing eliminates nitrous oxide/oxygen from the body. Your child will smell a sweet, pleasant aroma and experience a sense of well-being and relaxation. If your child is worried by the sights, sounds, or sensations of dental treatment, he or she may respond more positively with the use of nitrous oxide/oxygen.

Nitrous oxide/oxygen is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry. It is non-addictive. It is mild, easily taken, and then quickly eliminated by the body. Your child remains fully conscious, keeps all natural reflexes, when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen. Beneficial effects of nitrous oxide include the following:

  • reduced anxiety

  • pain reduction

  • altered perception of time (appointments seem short)

  • visual fear reduction (nose mask blocks child's view of dental instruments and other things that could potentially frighten the child)

A small percentage of patients can become nauseated by nitrous oxide, which may result in vomiting. Give your child little or no food before the dental visit. Tell Dr. Markos about any respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult for your child. It may limit the effectiveness of nitrous oxide/oxygen. And also tell Dr. Markos if your child is taking any medication on the day of the appointment. Dr. Markos knows that all children are not alike! Every service is tailored to your child as an individual. Nitrous oxide/oxygen may not be effective for some children, especially those who have severe anxiety, nasal congestion, extensive treatment needs, or discomfort wearing a nasal mask. Dr. Markos has comprehensive training and can offer other sedation methods that are right for your child.

In office IV Sedation

Sedation dentistry refers to the use of a sedative agent administered to your child to facilitate the delivery of excellent dental care and provide for a positive dental experience. It is most commonly used during extensive dental procedures, for patients with dental anxieties, and to facilitate coping skills in young children. We have a dental anesthesiologist who comes into the office and works with Dr. Markos. Our ultimate goal is to keep your child safe and comfortable during dental treatment.


General Anesthesia

What Is It?

Anesthesia is defined as the loss of feeling or sensation with or without a loss of consciousness. In reality, anesthesia does more. In addition to keeping your child pain free during surgery, anesthesia controls the body’s reaction to stress and relieves the fear and anxiety almost always associated with surgery. One of the most important roles of an anesthesiologist is to evaluate your child’s medical status preoperatively. Dr. Markos requires a pre-operative health history and physical prior to your child’s dental surgery. The physical would be scheduled with your current general practitioner or pediatrician.

Why would a child need general anesthesia just to have teeth fixed?

Unfortunately, many children suffer from serious, potentially painful dental diseases. Unlike such health conditions as colds and flu, dental diseases won’t go away on their own. When treatment is required for a serious dental condition, general anesthesia may be recommended to make delivery of that required treatment possible in a safe and comfortable manner. Without treatment dental caries can adversely affect learning, communication, nutrition, and other activities necessary for normal growth and development of your child. When a child with disabilities needs extensive dental treatment, general anesthesia is an accepted standard of care. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services support this standard. General Anesthesia is also an accepted standard of care for situations involving children who have limited comprehension or children who are extremely uncooperative and require dental care that is technically difficult or sensitive to deliver.

How safe is it to have general anesthesia?

Although there is some risk associated with general anesthesia, it can be used safely and effectively when administered by an appropriately-trained individual in an appropriately-equipped facility. Precautions are taken to protect your child during general anesthesia; personnel who are trained to manage complications will monitor your child closely. Dr. Markos will discuss the benefits and risks of general anesthesia and why it is recommended for your child.