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Sedation Dentistry for Children

Our office offers two types of sedation: nitrous oxide and general anesthesia

When is sedation used?

Sedation is used in several circumstances.  Firstly, very young children are often unable keep still for long enough for pediatric dentist to perform high-precision procedures safely. Sedation makes the visit less stressful for both children and adults and vastly reduces the risk of injury.  Secondly, some children struggle to manage anxiety during dental appointments.  Sedation helps them to relax, cope, and feel happier about treatment.  Thirdly, sedation is particularly useful for children with special needs. It prevents spontaneous movement, and guides cooperative behavior.

Nitrous oxide - The pediatric dentist 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.

Laughing gas relaxes children extremely quickly, and can produce happy, euphoric behavior.  It is also quick acting, painless to deliver, and wears off within a matter of minutes.  Before removing the mask completely, the pediatric dentist delivers regular oxygen for several minutes, to ensure the nitrous oxide is eliminated from the child’s body.  On rare occasions, nitrous oxide may cause nausea. For this reason, most pediatric dentists suggest minimal food intake prior to the appointment.

General Anesthesia- Dr. Jackson's office provides in office anesthesia to those children who are not able to comfortably tolerate routine care in an awake office setting. Dr. Jackson's pediatric dental office is the only office in Santa Cruz that provides dental care under general anesthesia using a pediatric anesthesiologist from the Children's Dental Anesthesia Group. These pediatric anesthesiologists are highly skilled, extensively trained physicians who provide anesthesia services to infants and children everyday at Children's Hospital Oakland and the offices of twenty pediatric dentists. All have subspecialty (fellowship) training in pediatric anesthesia.

If you have questions or concerns about sedation techniques, please contact your pediatric dentist.

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We encourage you to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. Please call our office or use the quick contact form below.

Office Location

  • Aptos
  • 7545 Soquel Drive Suite A
  • Aptos, California
  • 95003
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  • Call: (831) 662-2900