Sedation & Anaesthedia

Our office takes sedation VERY seriously. Dr.Shurong Cao has extensive training in sedation and anesthesia. She is registered by the DEA, and has completed her Pediatric Advance Life Support (PALS). These certifications are all maintained and updated continually so we are confident that your child is safe and in good hands.

There are many types of sedation available, and each is appropriate for certain types of treatment and certain types of behavior

  • Nitrous Oxide Sedation

    Nitrous oxide is a colorless and virtually odorless gas with a faint, sweet smell. The child wears a mask on their nose which delivers the nitrous oxide/oxygen, also known as laughing gas, to relax them for their dental treatment. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognizes this technique as a very safe, effective technique to use for treating children’s dental needs. The gas is mild, easily taken, then with normal breathing, it is absorbed rapidly, and allowing for both rapid onset and recovery (2-3 minutes) and it is non-addictive. Your child remains fully conscious and keeps all natural reflexes intact.

    Nitrous oxide acts to change the nitrogen levels in the body, and creates a slight “happy” feeling in children. Once your child is on 100% oxygen, they will have no residual effects. Nitrous oxide is the safest drug that we have in anesthesia and dentistry.

    This type of sedation is good to use with children who may have slight anxiety, or have limited work that needs to be done. Nitrous oxide is used on many patients who have good behavior, and have treatment that can be done in less than a half hour.

  • Moderate Sedation (Conscious Sedation)
  • Sedation is a technique to guide a child’s behavior during dental treatment. Medications are used to help increase cooperation and to reduce anxiety or discomfort associated with dental procedures. Sedative medications cause most children to become relaxed and drowsy. Unlike general anesthesia, sedation is not intended to make a patient unconscious or unresponsive.

    Before sedation, your child is not to eat or drink anything after midnight. When coming to your appointment, dress your child in loose-fitting, comfortable clothes. Your child will always be evaluated prior to their sedation to evaluate their airway and their breathing. Should your child become ill, contact your pediatric dentist to see if it is necessary to postpone the appointment. Tell your pediatric dentist about any prescribed, over the counter or herbal medications your child is taking. Check with your pediatric dentist to see if routine medications should be taken the day of the sedation

    After sedation, Your pediatric dentist will evaluate your child’s health status and discharge your child when she is responsive, stable and ready to go. Once home, your child must remain under adult supervision until fully recovered from the effects of the sedation.

  • Outpatient General Anesthesia

    General Anesthesia is a controlled state of unconsciousness that eliminates awareness, movement and discomfort during dental treatment. A physician with specialized training can use various medications to provide general anesthesia for patients receiving dental care. Sometimes necessary for children that are unable, by either age or maturity level, to cooperate during dental treatment. General anesthesia renders your child completely asleep. This would be the same as if he/she was having their tonsils removed, ear tubes, or hernia repaired. These cases are done on an outpatient basis at our affiliate Paoli Hospital and Bryn Mawr Hospital.

    Although there is some risk associated with general anesthesia, it can be used safely and effectively when administered by an appropriately- trained individual in an appropriately-equipped facility. Precautions are taken to protect your child during general anesthesia; personnel who are trained to manage complications will monitor your child closely.

    General Anesthesia is most helpful for:

    • The very young child who do not understand how to cope in a cooperative fashion.
    • Children with extensive dental needs
    • Children who are extremely uncooperative, fearful or anxious
    • Children that have had traumatic dental experiences (sound and smell aversion).
    • Children with a strong gag reflex.
    • Children who are medically compromised or have special needs.

      If your child is scheduled for general anesthesia, please note that prior to the appointment:

      • Report any illness that occurs prior to the general anesthesia appointment. It may necessary to reschedule the appointment.

      • You must tell the doctor of any drugs that your child is currently taking (prescribed, over-the-counter, or herbal medications) and any drug reactions and/or change in medical history.

      • Please dress your child in loose fitting, comfortable clothing.

      • Your child should not have milk or solid food after midnight prior to the scheduled procedure and clear liquids ONLY (water, apple juice, Gatorade) for up to 8 hours prior to the appointment.

      • The child’s parent or legal guardian must remain at the hospital or surgical site waiting room during the complete procedure.

      After the appointment:

      • Your child will be drowsy and will need to be monitored very closely. Keep your child away from areas of potential harm.

      • If your child wants to sleep, place them on their side with their chin up. Wake your child every hour and encourage them to have something to drink in order to prevent dehydration. At first it is best to give your child sips of clear liquids to prevent nausea. The first meal should be light and easily digestible.

      • If your child vomits, help them bend over and turn their head to the side to insure that they do not inhale the vomit.

      • Prior to leaving the hospital/outpatient center, you will be given a detailed list of "Post-Op Instructions" and an emergency contact number if needed.

Dr. Shurong Cao will discuss all treatment options with you and make recommendations as to what is the best modality to treat your child while keeping them safe and comfortable.

Source: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

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Pediatric Dentist serving infants, children and teens in Philadelphia areas.