Sedation Dentistry

Our dentists are licensed to administer in-office conscious sedation at East Mesa Children's Dentistry & Orthodontics.  Sedations are usually performed early in the morning when the child has an empty stomach. We realize different children have different temperaments. While some 4 year olds may do just fine having their teeth worked on while watching movies, others need some help with the use of specific sedation medications.

Sedation dentistry refers to the use of sedation during dental treatment. Sedation is most commonly used during extensive procedures, for patients with dental phobia or for patients who find it difficult to sit still. There are different types of sedation, including inhaled sedation ("laughing gas"), IV sedation, oral sedatives and general anesthetic.

Sedation can range from the use of  to calm a patient to general anesthetics used to put patients to sleep. Patients with dental phobia, low pain tolerance, major dental treatment, physical handicaps or strong gag reflexes may require sedation. Procedures like fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, extractions, cosmetic procedures and periodontal treatments often require sedation.

Sedation is endorsed by the American Dental Association and is an effective way to make many patients comfortable during their dental visit. Before using a sedative or anesthetic, it is important to tell your dentist about any medications or medical treatments you are receiving. Before administering any sedative or anesthetic, your dentist will talk to you about the process of sedation and pre- and post-sedation instructions.

Here at East Mesa Children's Dentistry & Orthodontics, we offer 3 types of sedation, used only when recommended for specific reasons by our Pediatric Specialist.

Inhaled Sedation

Inhaled sedation, more commonly known as laughing gas, is often used as a conscious sedative during a dental visit. The gas is administered with a mixture of oxygen and has a calming effect that helps phobic or anxious patients relax during their dental treatment. Because it is a mild sedative, patients are still conscious and can talk to their dentist during their visit. After treatment, the gas is turned off and oxygen is administered for five to 10 minutes to help flush any remaining gas. The effects wear off almost immediately. This option rarely has side effects, although some patients may experience minor nausea and constipation. Your doctor will provide you with pre- and post-sedation instructions.

Oral Sedation

Children who are more anxious may need a stronger medicine than laughing gas. These medicines are given by mouth (orally). When choosing a medicine, the dentist will consider your child's:


  • Anxiety level
  • Ability to cooperate
  • Treatment

With oral sedation, your child may be sleepy but can be aroused. He or she also can respond to simple commands. Minor side effects such as nausea or vomiting can occur with some medicines.
Before a visit in which your child is to receive oral sedation, you should receive instructions. They will include:

  • Whether to eat or drink before the procedure
  • What to expect during treatment
  • What to watch for after treatment

You may need to carry your child home after sedation. Your dentist also should discuss how your child will be monitored during sedation. You will need to stay for a short time after dental treatment has been completed. During this time, your child will be observed. The dental staff will make sure recovery is complete and look out for any problems.

In Office Deep IV Sedation

In Office Deep IV Sedation is used for patients with moderate to severe dental anxiety and for patients who need longer or more complex procedures. Medication is administered in the office through and IV and monitored by a dental anesthesiologist, who is also able to adjust medication easily. During this procedure the child will be completely unconscious as they would be in a hospital surgery environment. There will be a short recovery period in the office and special instructions given for aftercare.

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