Even though regular dental checkups will prevent many future dental problems — resulting in less stress and anxiety as time goes on — there are still some children who struggle to manage their anxiety during dental appointments. This includes children with a low tolerance for pain, those who have sensitive teeth – and children with special needs or disabilities. In these cases, Sedation Dentistry is used so the patients can better tolerate the procedure and be less inclined to develop life-long fears of the dentist.
At Park Smiles NYC Pediatrics, we have a Pediatric Anesthesiologist in our office available for all sedation procedures. Dr. Cohen also has extensive experience and advanced training in sedation dentistry, and is able to perform the sedation himself if you prefer.
For your added convenience and peace-of-mind, we have a state-of-the-art operating room in our office, which is accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF.org) – just like any accredited hospital or outpatient surgery center. In addition, we have an anesthesia machine to perform General Anesthesia when required.
Sedation Options at Park Smiles NYC Pediatrics
The members of our pediatric team may recommend nitrous oxide (more commonly known as “laughing gas”) for children who exhibit particular signs of nervousness or anxiety. Nitrous oxide is delivered via a mask, which is placed over the child’s nose. Nitrous oxide is always combined with oxygen – meaning that the child can comfortably breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Nitrous oxide relaxes children extremely quickly, and can produce happy, euphoric behavior. It is also painless to deliver and wears off within a matter of minutes. Before removing the mask completely, your child’s pediatric dentist will deliver regular oxygen for several minutes, to ensure that the nitrous oxide is eliminated from your child’s body before he or she leaves the office to go home.
Oral sedatives come in many different forms (usually tablets, pills, and liquids), and are used to make your child feel drowsy and relaxed during their procedure. We do not perform oral sedation in the office, because we believe that IV sedation is a safer alternative. Oral sedatives cannot be titrated, so the initial dose given usually has to be very well calculated because additional doses cannot be given. Additionally, since there is no IV catheter placed during oral sedation, there is no IV access to give any emergency drugs if needed. For these reasons, we do not perform oral sedation in our office, and we encourage parents to consider IV sedation or general anesthesia if a sedation is required.
With IV sedation, our Pediatric Anesthesiologist or Dr. Cohen will administer carefully measured doses of anti-anxiety drugs and anesthetics intended to help put your child at ease for the treatment. Because the doses are determined on a patient-by-patient basis, this can be a safe option for children who are apprehensive about seeing the dentist.
IV sedation is also beneficial because your child will have little or no recollection of the procedure after the fact, which means that there are no bad memories to exacerbate fears that may make your child resistant to future appointments and treatments. With IV sedation, the amount of drugs needed to keep your child comfortable and at ease can be titrated until your child lays comfortably in the chair.
General Anesthesia is sometimes necessary for children that are unable, either by age or maturity level, to cooperate during dental treatment. General Anesthesia is most helpful for:
- Children who require major treatment
- An extremely anxious child
- Children who are medically compromised or have special needs and/or a condition which limits cooperation or the ability to follow instructions
With General Anesthesia, your child will be given medicine to put him or her into a deep sleep – an unconscious state. There are always inherent risks where general anesthesia is used, and although they represent a small percentage of patients, all cases at Park Smiles NYC Pediatrics are carefully screened to ensure the best outcome for your child. A thorough medical examination and often additional blood work is used to screen for potential issues. Our pediatric anesthesiologist will usually administer the medications through an IV line, although inhaled anesthetics may also be used. A breathing tube may be inserted during the procedure to safeguard your child’s airway throughout the procedure.
Our top priority is always the safety and well-being of your child
Dr. Cohen or one of his pediatric specialists at Park Smiles NYC Pediatrics will discuss all sedation options with you and make recommendations for the best modality to treat your child while keeping them safe and comfortable!
For the best of the best in Comprehensive Pediatric Dental Care in New York City, call Park Smiles NYC Pediatrics today at 212-461-9120. We look forward to serving you with an unsurpassed commitment to comfort, compassion and empathetic care!
Dr. Ruben Cohen
Park Smiles NYC Pediatrics
Announced in 2017 in New York Times Magazine as one of the top 20 oral surgeons and “Super Specialists” in New York City – selected by local medical experts!