Sedation Dentistry

Imagine your anxious or behaviorally challenged child undergoing dental treatment ranging from a couple of fillings, to several stainless steel crowns, to extractions, or oral surgery.  And imagine when treatment is complete, because of sedation, your child has little or no recollection for the time it took, the noise, or the discomfort.  We are pleased to offer your child the option of comfortable, safe, and effective sedation dentistry.  Our pediatric dental patients who benefit from sedation dentistry typically have one or a combination of the following:

  • A fear or anxiety of being at the dentist
  • A hard time sitting still (ie. too young to cooperate)
  • Extensive dental treatment needs
  • Special needs and/or medical compromise

What is sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry allows Dr. Wullbrandt to provide a variety of dental treatments safely and comfortably for children who experience anxiety when visiting the dentist.  There are several benefits to sedation dentistry including:

  • Little or no memory of undergoing the procedure
  • Little or no sense of time while under sedation
  • Little or no sense of smell or sound
  • Little or no fear or anxiety during treatment

Levels of Sedation

Sedation dentistry is closely regulated by law in which we fully comply, and there are three sedative states at which dental treatment can be administered:  mild, moderate, and deep sedation.  

  • Mild Sedation—Anxiolysis (reducing anxiety) is the lightest form of sedation and is often used for children with mild anxiety.  Nitrous oxide inhalation (laughing gas) is the form of mild to moderate sedation we use that results in relaxation during treatment.
  • Moderate Sedation—Used for children with moderate dental anxiety and for children who need longer or more complex procedures, conscious sedation often refers to the use of light IV sedation.  Conscious sedation can also be achieved by giving a compilation of oral sedatives  
  • Deep Sedation—Children receiving deep sedation may be completely asleep or go between consciousness and unconsciousness during their dental procedure.  Children often have no recollection of the treatment and are unable to respond to commands even if they are awake at times during the procedure.  
  • General Anesthesia— General anesthesia is a state slightly beyond deep sedation where children are completely unconscious and do not respond to any level of pain during their dental treatment.  

What we offer at Children’s Dental Care

  • Nitrous oxide—Nitrous oxide inhalation (laughing gas) is an extremely safe mild sedative that decreases anxiety.  Administered by breathing through a small mask placed on the nose, its predictable effect comes on quickly and goes away quickly.  Oxygen is always administered along with nitrous oxide.  Nitrous oxide helps your child to relax, not to feel sensations so acutely, and to fog memory of the appointment, while never being made to go to sleep.  Because nearly every child experiences some level of anxiety when facing a dental procedure, we routinely offer nitrous oxide sedation.  In our office we often refer to nitrous oxide as ‘Happy Air’. 
  • In-office moderate to deep sedation—we are certified to partner with Prime Anesthesia (Greg Aprilliano CRNA, MSNA, APRN) in order to perform moderate to deep IV sedation, or even general anesthesia. 
  • General Anesthesia—Dr. Wullbrandt has privileges at Cheshire Medical Center where he is able to bring patients into day surgery and utilize their excellent anesthesia team to put your child completely asleep for dental treatment.  This option is typically useful for young children (<4 years old) or special needs children or adults who have extensive dental treatment needs and naturally have significant anxiety and limited ability to cooperate.   
  • Note:  We do not offer oral conscious sedation primarily because it is a less predictable form of sedation compared to nitrous oxide, IV sedation, and general anesthesia.