Pediatric Dentistry

Sedation Dentistry for Kids: Is It Safe?


Sedation dentistry is a very effective solution in performing oral health treatments and procedures to patients who are overly anxious about going to the dentist. And it’s generally safe. The doctor calculates with mathematical precision the amount of anesthetic one needs to feel relaxed during the treatment.


While for adults sedation is a way of managing their fears, when it comes to kids, this practice may become a necessity, especially when it comes to lengthy procedures. Children simply do not have the self-control and patience needed to sit still for long periods. Not to mention, the instruments and sounds can be so intimidating even to adults. So, doctors use sedation to ensure their safety.


Your St. Louis sedation dentist will tell you prior to the treatment that sedatives can have an effect on primary body functions, such as breathing. Parents often worry about what could happen if the effects of the sedatives become uncontrollable.


Here’s what you need to know.


Risk Factors of Sedation Dentistry for Children

While a lot of people’s fear of the dentist is unfounded, worrying about the possible side effects of sedation is entirely justified, especially when it comes to children. Their airways are smaller than a teenager or an adult’s, increasing the risk of obstruction.

With young children, studies show that they are, indeed, more prone to suffering from dangerous side effects. However, the same studies conclude that adverse events are successfully kept under controlled by the medical staff.


Should We Sedate Children During Dental Procedures?

While there are a few risks associated with sedation that parents should be aware of, they are almost always kept in check by the medical staff. When drawing the line, at least statistically, the benefits of sedation dentistry exceed the risks. What a parent should know is that an experienced St. Louis sedation dentist can provide a safe procedure for their young child, with great rates of success.


If doubt is still preventing the parent from allowing the child to receive treatment, there are two more things to consider: 1) choosing to have more invasive procedures done at the hospital, and 2) following the protocols for sedation dentistry closely. If parents make sure they understand everything they need to do before and after the sedation, they help keep the risks under control. Choosing doctors with experience and asking them about an emergency plan that covers any possible complication is also very helpful.


What’s truly important is that sedation dentistry keeps helping dental professionals treat their youngest patients, with a very low risk of complications. Knowing these risks and being prepared for them allows children to get the important dental treatments they need. To learn more about the benefits of sedation dentistry, feel free to give The Dental Anesthesia Center a call at (314) 862-7844!

Dental Sedation

The Potential Side Effects of Dental Sedation and How to Counteract Them

While dental sedation is a safe and well-regarded practice, we believe it is our duty to give you a complete idea of the potential side effects if you choose to utilize it. Here are some useful tips for counteracting any adverse outcomes that you might experience after sedation.


Initial Confusion

The level of confusion you may feel after sedation will depend on the strength the dentist gives you. For an anti-anxiety medication, you might not be disoriented at all. On the other hand, stronger treatments may have side effects. No matter what, this feeling should not last a long time. What will likely happen is that you’ll stay seated for five to ten minutes after your appointment ends, and then you will regain your previous state of mind not long after. The best way to fight this effect is simply waiting for it to pass.



There is a good chance that your treatment will make you tired. While you may get your energy back later in the day, the best move is likely relaxing and taking a nap. You should feel fine once you wake up from it and you can get on with your regular life. This factor often prompts people to take a full or half day off after sedation, as sleeping is the best way to get rid of fatigue.


Mental Fog

After the initial confusion passes, you still might feel some mental fog effects for a few hours after your appointment. This process can be frustrating for some, especially if they have tasks to complete that same day. You can often get rid of this symptom by eating, drinking, and relaxing. Doing so should make it pass in just a couple of hours.



Sedation patients also experience headaches in rare cases. The best way to fight them is with over the counter pain medication. You must be careful, though, as taking these pills on an empty stomach can lead to other complications. The best way forward is usually to have a meal and then take the medicine after.



Lastly, some sedation patients feel nauseous when they come back to full consciousness. The first thing you can do to rid yourself of this feeling is to eat and drink whatever your stomach will allow. If this symptom persists for many hours after, you can also call your dentist and discuss getting a prescription to fight it.


Though you may experience initial confusion, fatigue, mental fog, headaches, or nausea after your dental sedation appointment, there are two reasons why you should not be afraid. The first is that these symptoms are both temporary and quite easy to counteract with the methods we talked about in this article. The second is that getting dental treatment is crucial for individuals who want to optimize their health. With the help of sedation, even people with severe dental anxiety can achieve that goal.
The Dental Anesthesia Center: Sedation and Sleep Dentistry

950 Francis Pl #305

Clayton, MO


(314) 862-7844

Dental Sedation

The Differences Between Sedation and Anesthesia in Dentistry


One concept that consistently confuses patients is the difference between sedation and anesthesia. Honestly, we don’t blame them. These two concepts have similar definitions, and medical professionals occasionally use them interchangeably. Still, it is important to have precise knowledge of a medical topic before undergoing it, so learning about these two treatments is well worth your time.

What is Anesthesia?

The definition of anesthesia is the general usage of medication to reduce sensation. It is frequently used for especially painful or time-consuming procedures, but also has others applications. Medical professionals break this concept up into the 3 following categories.

  • Local – This type of treatment will numb a single, small area. In a dental context, that could mean reducing the feeling in your mouth for a root canal.
  • Regional – This variant refers to the numbing of larger areas, such as an entire arm or leg, and is generally not used in a dentist’s office.
  • General – The last type of anesthesia is the one that “puts you to sleep.” Getting it will make you feel no pain and also lead to a loss of consciousness.

Where Sedation Fits In

Sedation is a result of general anesthesia that dentists and other medical professionals seek for some types of treatments. What these two methods share is that they are both used to lessen pain and lead to some degree of lost consciousness. These results benefit the patient by making the procedure less stressful and painful.

How They Differ

Where these two treatments differ is in severity. When a medical professional wants to “put you to sleep,” meaning you lose all consciousness, they will call that general anesthesia. Sedation, on the other hand, has the following range of strengths.

  • Light – You will likely take an anti-anxiety pill or inhale nitrous oxide for this strength. As a result, you will feel relaxed but lose little or no consciousness. You should remember the appointment entirely.
  • Moderate – Here, you will generally inhale nitrous oxide and lose partial consciousness. You will likely have little or no memory of the treatment.
  • Heavy – Through either nitrous oxide or an IV, you will lose almost all of your consciousness and have no memory of the event.

What to Expect at a Sedation Dental Appointment

Your precise needs will dictate what to expect from your sedation dentist appointment. If you have minor dental anxiety, you might simply take a pill before your treatment and feel its calming effects. For more severe issues or lengthy procedures, your dentist could opt to give you moderate or heavy sedation. No matter what, you will be safe in the hands of a trained medical professional, and the appointment will be over as quickly as possible.

Now that you understand the difference between sedation and anesthesia, you can book a dental appointment with confidence. One thing that eases the mind of many patents is that dental sedation usually involves staying partially conscious. This makes the treatment much less scary to those that are uncomfortable with the idea of general anesthesia.


The Dental Anesthesia Center: Sedation and Sleep Dentistry

950 Francis Pl #305

Clayton, MO


(314) 862-7844

Dental Sedation

How Laughing Gas Works in Sedation Dentistry


Many St. Louis residents from all walks of life have trouble going to the dentist. That might be because of dental anxiety, low pain tolerance, having a disease that causes uncontrollable movement, or many other factors. Whatever their issue might be, sedation dentistry is an option that many of them choose to get the dental work they need. When they explore this avenue, something that they often come into contact with is “laughing gas.” This chemical has high name recognition, but people often do not fully understand it.

What Is It?

Laughing gas is a colorless and odorless gas that is administered to patients to sedate them. Its scientific name is nitrous oxide, and it has been used for decades in the medical industry. It has been found to generally be safe and is used every day in medical facilities across the country.

How Long It Takes to Start Working

Nitrous oxide starts to affect patients quickly, but not instantly. Usually, a medical professional will have a patient start to breath the gas in while continuing to talk to them. After a few minutes, the patient will lose some level of consciousness, and the treatment can begin.

Doses and Effects

Contrary to popular belief, laughing gas does not always “put you to sleep.” In fact, it can be given in a range of doses that all have different effects. In general, nitrous oxide does three things: Reduces consciousness, compromises memory, and kills pains. The three categories of doses most medical professionals use are listed below.

Low – This will deeply relax the patient and slightly compromise their memory, but they will retain consciousness throughout the appointment. This dose is usually used for mild cases of dental anxiety and other non-serious issues.

Medium – On a medium dose, the patient will remain conscious, but they will be considerably sedated and will likely not remember the appointment. This is used for stronger cases of anxiety, more severe issues, and painful procedures.

High – This dose will take the patient to the edge of consciousness. They will nearly be asleep and have no memory of the events after they regain full consciousness. High doses are used for unmanageable anxiety, severe alternative issues, and exceptionally painful treatments.

Coming out of It

Most of us have either experienced first hand or seen what happens when someone comes back from nitrous oxide. They are often disoriented, slurring their speech, and having trouble walking. What these effects come from is the process of returning to consciousness. Laughing gas is very powerful, and though recovery from it is generally quick, there is a period of difficulty. Generally, people will come back to their senses within twenty minutes and feel fine.
If you have difficulty going to the dentist, you should not simply accept those feelings and choose to never go. Your oral health will suffer, and you will pay for it later on. Instead, give sedation dentistry a try. When you do, there is a good chance you will use laughing gas. Now that you know the basics of this compound, you can understand what is going on in your body and prepare yourself for its effects.

The Dental Anesthesia Center: Sedation and Sleep Dentistry

950 Francis Pl #305

Clayton, MO


(314) 862-7844

Dental Sedation

What to Expect After You Come out of Sedation


Between low pain tolerance, sensitive teeth, not being able to sit still, and dental anxiety, there are plenty of people in St. Louis that could use dental sedation to get the oral care that they need. Unfortunately, many of these people are also scared of sedation. Fear is understandable, but because sedation is generally safe, that fear is ultimately unwise. One way to lessen this uneasiness is through education. That way, a patient knows exactly what to expect from their St. Louis sedation dentist appointment before they ever arrive.

What to Expect

Though every appointment will be slightly different, the following are a few feelings that patients experience frequently.

Little or No Memory of the Treatment – A typical thing patients ask after they come out of sedation is “when do we start?” The reason is that moderate and heavy sedation both lead to memory loss. When you come back to full consciousness, do not be alarmed when you realize that your treatment has been carried out already.

Initial Confusion and Disorientation – Your confusion is not exclusive to memory, though. You may feel a bit confused and disoriented in general too. For the first few minutes after you come back, you may deal with some disorientation before gathering yourself.

Decreased Motor Skills – For around fifteen minutes after you come back to full consciousness, you will have a significant amount of trouble with your motor skills. This will extend, to a lesser degree, for a few more hours. Generally, dentists recommend you stay away from driving or heavy machinery for a full day.

Measures You Should Take

Though the moments after your sedation can be a bit uncomfortable, there are two critical things you can do to make your experience better.

Plan a Ride Home – You generally will not be able to drive after your appointment, so be sure to secure a ride home. The best plan is to have someone you know give you that ride.

Eat a Healthy Meal – Certain forms of sedation require you to be fasted, so your body will likely be starving for calories. A great way to get back to feeling normal is eating a big, healthy meal.

The Critical Piece You Cannot Forget

For some dental procedures, you will need to carry out a treatment plan going forward. In the case of sedation, you cannot solely rely on remembering it. Instead, get that material in written form so you can review it when you are less disoriented.

Now you know what to expect after you come back from sedation. Instead of being afraid, you can mentally prepare for what you’re going to feel and make arrangements for getting a ride home, eating a meal, and receiving your treatment plan in written form. Call The Dental Anesthesia Center today to schedule a visit. We will be happy to answer your questions!


The Dental Anesthesia Center: Sedation and Sleep Dentistry

950 Francis Pl #305

Clayton, MO


(314) 862-7844