Oral Sedation / Nitrous Oxide

Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry provides safe, comfortable dental treatment for patients with special needs or anxiety. Sometimes called relaxation dentistry, sedation dentistry is a method of managing pain and anxiety during professional dental care through the use of medication. In addition, young patients have a difficult time sitting through a half hour or longer of treatment and medications allows the patient to be more cooperative.


  • High fear of dental care
  • Complex dental problems
  • Traumatic dental experiences
  • Fear of  "shots"

Inhalation Sedation and Oral Sedation are the two most common types of sedation dentistry

Both of these methods work quickly, the patient is awake, and their effects are reversible.

I. Inhalation Sedation

     Inhalation sedation uses Nitrous Oxide and Oxygen (laughing gas) to help your body achieve a relaxed state. This is the most popular form of sedation used in dentistry today. Nitrous oxide/oxygen inhalation is a safe and effective technique to reduce anxiety, gag reflex, and enhances effective communication with the patient during the procedure. Your child will smell a sweet, pleasant aroma and experience a sense of well-being and relaxation. Our dentists will evaluate your child if nitrous oxide/oxygen is right for him/her.

II. Oral Sedation

     Another form of conscious sedation involves the use of oral sedatives to reduce anxiety and allow for safe dental procedures. This form of sedation works best for children preschool age and older. Dr. Iten will evaluate your child and decide if he or she is a good candidate to receive sedation mediction. He will then prescribe a premedication to take the day of the appointment. Through this type of sedation your child will experience deeper relaxation while still being conscious. Your child will be able to speak and respond to external requests while feeling relaxed, but will need to be monitored for poor coordination skills prior to arrival. Our staff will closely monitor and ensure the safety of your child during and after each appointment. Some of the medication will also have an amnesiac effect so your child will not remember the dental procedures being done and help lower anxiety for future dental appointments.


Commonly asked questions about sedation

Is sedation on children safe?

Sedation is safe when administered by a trained pediatric dentist who follows the sedation guidelines for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Iten and Dr. Gregg will discuss options for the safety and protection of your child.

What if conscious sedation isn't ideal for my child?

If your child does not respond well to conscious sedation, he or she will likely require dental treatment under general anesthesia.

What are the common side effects of conscious sedation?

Some common side effects include nausea and some dizziness. Some children may become more emotional after the sedation due to the un-inhibition of their emotions. All of these side effects will fully subside when the sedative is worn off, which typically requires 2-4 hours.