At Purcellville Pediatric Dentistry, we make every effort possible to create a positive environment where our patients feel relaxed. Some of our patients are anxious or apprehensive about dental care, and we work with them individually through engaging play and calming reassurance to create an environment where they feel safe.
However, some of our patients need a little extra comfort before receiving treatment. Dr. Mona is proud to offer three levels of sedation dentistry—because feeling anxious about receiving dental care should never prevent a healthy and magical smile.
Children who are very young, or children with special needs, often benefit from sedation dentistry. In addition, sedation dentistry may benefit children who exhibit the following:
- Extreme dental anxiety.
- Fear of needles and/or shots.
- Past traumatic dental experience.
- An aversion to the smells or noises of being at a dentist's office.
- Sensitive teeth, a strong gag reflex, or trouble getting numb.
- Complex dental treatment.
- A hard time sitting still for long periods of time.
If Dr. Monajemy believes your child will benefit from sedation, she will discuss the appropriate options with you, taking the time to thoroughly explain how the sedation will help and what to expect. The three levels of sedation we offer include Nitrous Oxide, Oral Sedation, and IV Sedation.
Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is our most frequently used method for easing mild to moderate anxiety in children. It is very safe, non-addictive, easily taken, and quickly eliminated by the body. Children remain fully conscious and keep all natural reflexes when breathing Nitrous Oxide.
Our patients start by choosing a scent, like strawberry, for the Nitrous Oxide. Then we gently place a small mask to rest over their nose through which the Nitrous Oxide flows during the appointment. Throughout their treatment our patients remain awake and can watch a movie and talk to Dr. Mona while she does the work. Once the mask is removed, the effects of the Nitrous Oxide leave the body in a matter of only a few minutes. Recovery is quick so your child can resume normal activities immediately.
Oral sedation is used for patients with mild to moderate anxiety, and for those with longer procedures or more complex situations.
Patients undergoing oral sedation are instructed to fast prior to their appointment (6 hours fasting from solids and 3 hours fasting from liquids). Upon arrival at our office, patients are given an oral dose of a prescription medication that will make them feel very relaxed over the course of 20 minutes. We then take our patients to the treatment room, where they will remain awake but sleepy throughout the procedure. Patients can breathe on their own while experiencing a great sense of relaxation. Our patients typically recover within a few hours after the procedure is complete.
We recommend Intravenous (IV) sedation for our patients with high anxiety, complex treatment, and/or special needs. Dr. Monajemy performs the dental treatment in our office with the patient anesthetized under IV sedation, which is administered and monitored by our experienced anesthesiologist, Dr. Anh Tran of Olympic Anesthesia. Dr. Mona will discuss with you if intravenous sedation is the best option for your child.
During IV sedation our patients are in a deep state of relaxation. while still being able to breathe independently and manage reflexes. We know you may have many questions about IV sedation if Dr. Mona has discussed this option with you.
The following are some of our most frequently asked questions about IV sedation:
What should I expect on the day of our appointment?
When you arrive at our practice, we will escort your child to a private treatment room. We will administer medication to help your child go into a deep state of relaxation. You will be asked to wait in the waiting room until the procedure is completed, at which time we will have you return to the treatment room to be at your child’s side until they awaken from the anesthesia. Once treatment is complete, your child will wake up with little or no memory of the appointment and with a magical new smile.
How will my child be monitored?
During the procedure your child will be monitored according to guidelines instituted by the American Society of Anesthesiologists. Blood pressure, ECG, pulse oximetry, and EtCO2 will be carefully monitored throughout the procedure.
Will my child feel anything during treatment?
In most cases, patients do not feel anything. There is very little discomfort, and many patients wake up feeling relaxed and comfortable with almost no memory of the treatment.
How will my child wake up?
When the procedure is finished your child will awaken over time as the anesthesia wears off, usually taking between 15-30 minutes. Children may wake up grumpy or tearful, which is a side effect of the disinhibition and disorientation from the anesthesia. This may last for 10-15 minutes. Gently reassuring your child will help. The effects of the anesthesia will continue to wear off as your child is at home.
Can my child eat or drink on the day of the procedure?
We recommend no eating or drinking after midnight. Preoperative fasting ensures a safe anesthetic procedure. Under anesthesia, contents from the stomach can come up and then be aspirated into the lungs. This is a rare but potentially serious complication of both general anesthesia as well as deep sedation. We will provide you with detailed fasting instructions prior to your child’s treatment.