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Sedation Dentistry FAQ

Have a question about dental sedation? Read our most common questions and answers below, or contact us if we can be of assistance. Please also review our pre-operative instructions and post-operative instructions for dental sedation to insure a safe and comfortable visit.

What can dental sedation accomplish for my child?

Many children have a fear of the dentist. Other children are simply not old enough to understand and cooperate throughout the course of the dental treatment. Some children have conditions such as autism, Down Syndrome, or other special health care needs that have difficulty with dental treatment. Other children simply need a lot of dental work, and the thought of multiple dental appointments to complete treatment leaves them feeling overwhelmed.

Every child described above can find a satisfying solution through dental sedation. Our goals for dental sedation are as follows:

  • To guard the patient’s safety and welfare
  • To minimize physical discomfort and pain
  • To control anxiety, minimize psychological trauma and maximize the potential for amnesia
  • To control behavior and/or movement so as to allow the safe completion of the procedure
  • To return the patient to a state in which safe discharge from medical supervision is possible

What are the risks of dental sedation?

Many people understand the risks of medical and dental procedures. To help put your mind at ease, we will review these risks with you in person so that we can answer any questions. Dental sedation, like any medical procedure, carries a certain amount of risk for your child. Your child’s safety and comfort however, remains our highest priority. Our office closely follows the sedation guidelines set by American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and has all the necessary monitoring equipment to safely sedate your child.


Who decides whether my child should receive dental sedation?

The parent ultimately decides on the treatment plan recommended by your pediatric dentist. You can count on your dentist’s help with the decision by reviewing your child’s medical history, studying your child’s x-rays and providing you with advice as to whether your child would benefit from receiving dental sedation. Rest assured that when sedation is needed for your child, your family will be cared for by a highly trained and experienced team of specialists.


What are the different levels of sedation?

  • Mild Sedation is a drug-induced state during which patients respond normally to verbal commands. Although cognitive function and coordination may be impaired, breathing and heart functions are unaffected. This is our offices goal with oral sedation.
  • Moderate Sedation is a drug-induced depression of consciousness during which patients respond purposefully to verbal commands. With moderate sedation, no intervention is required to maintain an open airway, spontaneous breathing is adequate, and heart function is usually maintained.
  • Deep Sedation is a drug-induced depression of consciousness during which patients cannot be easily aroused but respond purposefully after repeated verbal stimulations. The ability to independently maintain breathing may be impaired requiring assistance to maintain an open airway. Heart function is usually maintained. This is the type of sedation being provided with in-office IV sedation.
  • General Anesthesia is a drug-induced loss of consciousness during which patients are not arousable, even by painful stimulation. The ability to independently maintain breathing is often impaired requiring assistance to maintain an open airway, and positive-pressure ventilation may be required because of depressed spontaneous ventilation or drug-induced depression of neuromuscular function. Heart function may be impaired. This is the type of sedation being provided in a hospital care setting.

What medications do you use?

  • Oral Medications: Chloral Hydrate, Hydroxyzine, Meperidine, Midazolam, Diazepam.
  • Intranasal Medications: Midazolam
  • Intramuscular Medications: Ketamine, Glycopyrrolate, Midazolam
  • Intravenous Medications: Propofol, Lidocaine, Ketamine, Glycopyrrolate, Midazolam, Dexamethasone

The medications listed above are all our office has available to use. They may be used as a single agent, in combination, or not at all. Hospital medications used are dependent upon the facility and anesthesia group utilized and you would need to contact them directly.


Will my insurance cover dental sedation?

That largely depends on your medical and/or dental insurance plan and the age and medical condition of your child. We will discuss all insurance and financial information with you at your appointment so that we can answer any of your questions.


How do I care for my sedated child once I leave the office?

Read more FAQ specific to the anesthesia group (Special Anesthesia Services) providing in-office IV sedation.

“The staff at Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry are always competent and professional. Dr. Healy does a fantastic job with the little ones and is always kind and respectful to me as a parent. Thanks for being awesome, TTPD!”

— Leann L.