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Sedation Dentistry – Denver, CO

Positive and Relaxed Experiences for Your Child

Sedation for your child’s dental needs can feel like a big decision. At Wash Park Pediatric Dentistry, we may recommend sedation based on their specific situation. As parents, we understand your potential concern with choosing to sedate your child for dental treatment. We will take every step possible to minimize risks and provide the compassionate care we would want for our own children. That is our promise as fellow parents. We invite you to contact our office to learn more about your sedation options.

Why Choose Wash Park Pediatric Dentistry for Sedation Dentistry?

Nitrous Oxide Sedation

A young girl and her mother looking at her improved smile while visiting a sedation dentist for kids in Denver

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, nitrous oxide, commonly called laughing gas, makes it easier for a child to stay comfortable and relaxed while undergoing treatment that requires them to remain still. It is also known to reduce sensitive gag reflex, allowing Dr. Patrick to perform various procedures more quickly and your child to stay comfortable. Throughout treatment, your child will remain fully awake while on nitrous oxide but feel calm and relaxed.

Who is a Good Candidate for Nitrous Oxide?

nervous young patient who is a good candidate for nitrous oxide sedation

Unlike stronger forms of sedation, nitrous oxide is gentle enough to be used for basically anyone who struggles with dental anxiety, even little kids! It also works for most patients who have a hard time sitting still or who have extra sensitive mouths, as long as they can keep the nasal mask in position on their face. This form of sedation can help your child feel at ease, content, and soothed throughout their entire visit, enabling us to perform necessary care, whether it’s a routine cleaning and checkup or a more invasive procedure.

How Does Nitrous Oxide Work?

smiling child showing how nitrous oxide sedation works

We start nitrous oxide sedation by placing a nasal mask over your child’s nose, and a combination of oxygen and nitrous oxide is delivered for them to breathe in. After a few minutes, they feel calmer and more relaxed than before. Throughout the appointment, we can adjust the concentration of the gas to find the perfect comfort level for your child. Then, after we’ve completed their treatment, we simply remove the mask and give them a few minutes to breathe normal air. Just as quickly as they kicked in, the effects of the gas wear off, which means your child will be able to return to normal activities basically when you leave our office!

Aftercare for Nitrous Oxide

happy, normal smiling kid in the aftermath of nitrous oxide sedation

Although some rare exceptions do happen, there really aren’t many side effects that you have to worry about when it comes to nitrous oxide. When we administer this sedation, we will start off with the lowest dose and work up from there until we find the appropriate level, monitoring them the entire time. Later, we’ll watch your child for a while after the gas has worn off to make sure they return to normal, but otherwise, they should be capable of resuming their routine or schedule as usual.

General Anesthesia

A young boy wearing a mask over his nose in preparation for receiving nitrous oxide

In some cases, kids have complex treatment needs, struggle to tolerate certain procedures for various reasons, or in some cases, the best approach for a child is to complete the care all in one visit while they are under sedation. Not only does it ensure the work can be done successfully, but this approach also encourages a positive attitude toward oral health. At Wash Park Pediatric Dentistry, we are committed to ensuring your child’s wellbeing while in our care and are pleased to offer two options: in-office general anesthesia and hospital general anesthesia.

About Dr. Berger

Should it be plausible to treat your child’s case in-house, you can feel more at ease knowing that we work with Dr. Berger, a board-certified pediatric anesthesiologist. Her collaboration with us sets Wash Park Pediatric Dentistry apart from other pediatric dental offices in Denver and the surrounding communities.

As the Chief of Anesthesiology at Kaiser, Dr. Berger has completed over 23,000 hours of training. She is clinically trained in anesthesia and received an additional 5-7 years of advanced training after completing medical school. During that time, she earned the Katie Wood Memorial Award and the outstanding resident of the year award for her excellence. Upon finishing her training in 2013, Doctor Berger then began work as the chair of pediatric anesthesiology for Colorado Permanente Medical Group. She has been named a 5280 top doc in 2017 and 2019 for her dedication and clinical performance. Because she has the highest level of training, you can feel confident that she will take excellent care of your child.

She will stay next to your child throughout the duration of their treatment, never leaving the room. Additionally, Dr. Berger will also provide a fully trained registered nurse (RN) who will assist her during the procedure.

About Dr. Gordon

At Wash Park Pediatric Dentistry, we also work with Dr. Gordon who earned his dental degree at the Ohio State University, followed by a three-year dental anesthesiology residency program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. During his training, he performed anesthesia in many surgical scenarios, including general surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics, neurosurgery, trauma, vascular surgery, maxillofacial surgery, and more.

While at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, he treated many special needs patients who had been turned away from traditional dental offices for sedation. As a Diplomate with the American Dental Board of Anesthesiology, Dr. Gordon looks forward to helping your child through safe, effective general anesthesia.

Children’s Hospital of Colorado (CHCO) and Rocky Mountain Hospital

Dr. Patrick has advanced training and is credentialed at Children’s Hospital of Colorado and Rocky Mountain Hospital. At these institutions, you can rest assured that your child is receiving exceptional pediatric care. Not to mention, they will also bill your medical insurance for any hospital work, while your dental insurance will be billed for any dental work.

Is Sedation Right for My Child?

young girl with a nitrous oxide nasal mask on her face during dental work

When recommending sedation, we may consider several factors for the individual patient, including their behavior, sensory or special needs, young age, anxiety, and more. If their needs are relatively minor, nitrous oxide may be sufficient to accomplish their treatment.

Sometimes, however, it makes the most sense to complete general anesthesia treatment at the hospital for these and other reasons:

Don’t hesitate to discuss your child’s anxiety and needs with us, and together we can put together a sedation solution that will best suit them.

Sedation Dentistry FAQs

A mother and her son shaking hands with the pediatric sedation dentist in Denver

As a parent and pediatric sedation dentist in Denver, Dr. Patrick understands the uncertainty you may feel about the possibility of using general anesthesia during an upcoming appointment. While most of our patients don’t need sedation, there are those who greatly benefit from it. Because this important decision can leave you grappling with many questions and concerns, our team at Wash Park Pediatric Dentistry can provide answers to many of the most common questions about sedation dentistry. Below you will find a list you can review. If you would like to schedule an appointment to see if your child needs sedation, please contact our office today.

Nitrous Oxide vs General Anesthesia

Conventional treatment uses nitrous oxide (N2O or laughing gas) to help a child relax during a dental procedure, such as fillings or extractions. This is a non-addictive, non-sedative substance that does not require any pre or post procedure recovery. Your child will be monitored for the entirety of their visit while on N2O, and they will leave the office completely back to normal. General anesthesia (GA), on the other hand, is a bit more involved and only utilized when conventional treatment is not an option. Your child might need GA for dentistry if they have had a bad experience with dental work in the past and have associated trauma, have a special need such as autism or severe anxiety, or if they have too much dental work that needs to be done for the time conventional treatment takes. GA can limit trauma associated with conventional dental procedures, and it’s a safe and viable option for a variety of children. We work with teams of anesthesiologists who administer and monitor anesthesia so that Dr. Patrick can focus on dentistry.

Is sedation dentistry safe?

When done the right way with the right people, sedation dentistry is completely safe. Our team is one of only a few in the state that partners with board-certified pediatric anesthesiologists to ensure every child who requires sedation gets the highest quality of care. Our partners will walk you through every step of the visit before you arrive and answer any questions you may have about general anesthesia and dentistry.

What if my child is too afraid to visit the dentist?

If your child experiences severe dental anxiety, it can make visiting the dentist seem like an impossible feat. Our team is specially trained to work with kiddos who have anxiety, sensory processing needs, autism, and a variety of other disabilities. We will work to put your child’s needs above all else to ensure comfort and care during every step of the process.

We offer a playful and fun dental office and a kind and caring dental team that will listen to your child’s concerns. If necessary, we can also incorporate safe, modern, and highly effective sedation dentistry to help change the way a fearful child thinks about visiting the dentist’s office. Sedation can offer a fresh start for a kiddo who may need some time to warm up to conventional dentistry.

Will my child be required to undergo any post-sedation recovery?

The level of recovery your child can expect is based on the type of sedation they receive. One of the great benefits of nitrous oxide is that the effects wear off within minutes after the mask is removed. This allows your child to resume normal activity following their appointment. However, if they receive in-office or hospital general anesthesia, it will be necessary that they spend more time resting at home after their procedure. Dr. Patrick and his team will provide you with detailed instructions regarding how to help your child recover successfully, offering tips for maintaining proper oral hygiene, which foods to eat and avoid, and when normal activity can resume.

Will dental insurance cover my child’s sedation dentistry?

Ultimately, this is dependent upon your dental insurance plan. If your child is preparing to receive nitrous oxide, you will need to check with your insurer to determine if they will provide the necessary coverage. If in-office or hospital general anesthesia is needed, the appropriate claims will be sent to both your medical and dental insurance companies. Our team at Wash Park Pediatric Dentistry will be happy to assist in making sure the financial side of your child’s sedation treatment is streamlined and as stress-free as possible.

Can Dental Sedation Make My Child Sick?

Negative reactions to sedation dentistry, especially nitrous oxide, are extremely rare. However, sometimes sensitive patients can experience nausea as a side effect. Before we give your child any medication, we will ask about their medical history and try to avoid an unpleasant situation. With general anesthesia, your child will require time to wake up and may be groggy for a brief period, but the anesthesiologists will explain the process and make sure you’re ready to take care of them at home until they are fully awake.

How Should I Prepare My Child for Sedation Dentistry?

In some situations, you can help your child be more comfortable and confident going into their dental appointment by talking about it and explaining it. Be honest about what will happen during your child’s appointment, but try to avoid words that could trigger anxiety, such as shot, needle, or drill. There are plenty of children’s books that talk about dental visits and that can lower their anxiety and fear of the unknown. On the day of their appointment, consider bringing your child’s favorite blanket, stuffed toy, or other comfort item for them to hold.

How Long Does It Take for Dental Sedation to Start Working?

If your child is anxious or requires sedation for another reason, we want to work as efficiently as possible to make them comfortable. With both nitrous oxide sedation and general anesthesia, the effects kick in quickly. In fact, just minutes after the nasal mask is placed on their face, they should feel warm, relaxed, and calm because of the fast-acting nitrous oxide. The anesthesiologist may instruct your child to count to ten or count backwards from 100, but they should be out well before they reach the end.

What Should I Do If I Think My Child Needs Sedation Dentistry?

In many situations, especially for general anesthesia, we’ll need to plan ahead for sedation, which means you need to communicate your child’s needs with us well in advance. We may need to coordinate with the anesthesiologist, making scheduling slightly more complex. We may also need to examine your child for more advanced procedures or go through medical history beforehand, so leave plenty of room for this step as well. In any case, reach out to us and explain your concerns, and we’ll put together a plan designed with your unique child’s needs in mind.

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Denver, CO 80210
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