Sedation & Hospital Dentistry in Lancaster, PA

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What Is Sedation Dentistry?

At Lancaster Pediatric Dental Associates, we understand the fear and anxiety many children experience when visiting the dentist. Our extensively trained, board-certified pediatric dentists are pleased to offer sedation dentistry options to help ease any worries your child may have and establish a positive association with dental visits. Whether your child has an experienced-based dental fear or general anxiety about the unknown, we take a compassionate, gentle approach toward helping them feel comfortable and at ease when visiting our child-centered dental practice. If your child has expressed fear of the dentist or you would like to learn more about our sedation dentistry options, please reach out to our friendly Lancaster, PA team today. One of our expert pediatric specialists will help you determine if sedation is ideal for your child.

What Sedation Dentistry Options Are Available?

As pediatric specialists, our dentists have advanced training in a variety of effective sedation solutions. These include:

Nitrous oxide sedation: As the most commonly used method of relieving mild to moderate dental anxiety, nitrous oxide sedation (laughing gas) is administered via a small nasal mask that fits comfortably over the nose. Nitrous oxide gas works quickly to induce a feeling of calm, relaxation, and even giddiness. The effects of this option dissipate within minutes once the gas is turned off. The patient then returns to normal and can go about normal daily activities.

Hospital dentistry: To better serve the needs of our patients, each of our pediatric specialists is hospital-trained and offers advanced care under general anesthesia (full sedation) in a hospital setting. This approach may be recommended for children who have severe dental fear, compromising physical or medical conditions, extensive treatment requirements, or special needs. Our dentists maintain privileges at Lancaster General Hospital and Hershey Medical Center. Our patients will work with a hospital and sedation coordinator throughout their entire process.

What Are the Benefits of Sedation & Hospital Dentistry?

Sedation and hospital dentistry can benefit many people, such as those with severe dental fears or anxieties, difficulty sitting still for periods of time, or undergoing complex or lengthy dental procedures. Some of the advantages of sedation and hospital dentistry include the following:

  • Gag reflex control
  • Improved comfort
  • Reduced fear and anxiety
  • Allows for a positive dental experience
  • Multiple dental treatments can be completed in a single visit
  • Improved oral health
  • Suitable for a wide variety of patients

Who Is a Candidate for Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry may be a good treatment option for a variety of patients. Our team offers sedation solutions to address fear and anxiety ranging from mild to severe, whether your child is nervous in the dental environment, has anxiety over the idea of visiting the dentist for treatment, or has a history of traumatic dental visits. Children or teens with extensive treatment needs or even a strong gag reflex may also be ideal candidates for sedation dentistry. When you bring your child in to meet our team, we will talk with you about their fears, review their dental and medical histories, and gain a better understanding of their overall concerns. Together, we can then determine the sedation solution that may be the most ideal to help your family member enjoy a positive dental experience.

What Should I Expect During Sedation Dentistry?

Since each level of sedation carries varying effects, our dentists will talk with you and your child about what to expect during the process. With nitrous oxide sedation, your son or daughter will breathe in nitrous oxide gas before and during their procedure through a special mask that fits over the nose. Our highly trained team will monitor the amount of gas your child receives very closely to help ensure the right amount of sedation is delivered during the treatment. For oral-conscious sedation, our dentists will prescribe a sedative medication to be taken by mouth one hour prior to the visit or administered in liquid form in-office. This anti-anxiety medication will provide a deeper level of relaxation, producing effects that will last throughout the appointment and for a few hours following the visit. If hospital dentistry is ideal for your child, our team will treat your child at an outpatient facility under general anesthesia. Our doctors have rights at both Lancaster General Hospital and Hershey Medical Center, and work with the surgery and anesthesia teams there to care for your child as they undergo their dental procedures.

What Can I Expect After Sedation Dentistry?

During your child's consultation visit, one of our pediatric specialists will talk with you about the sedation process and what to expect following the procedure. Depending on the type of sedation received, your son or daughter may need to avoid physical activity for the few days following sedation. It is important that your child receives proper rest and hydration after the procedure. It is common for children to feel fatigued the rest of the day following the procedure; however, this should dissipate within 24 hours of sedation administration.

Does Insurance Cover Sedation Dentistry?

Insurance coverage for sedation dentistry services may vary according to individual policies and treatment needs. A member of our business team will review your coverage benefits before your child's treatment and let you know if there may be any out-of-pocket expenses. To help make your family's dental care as affordable as possible, Lancaster Pediatric Dental Associates accepts an assortment of payment methods and can assist you in applying for low-cost CareCredit® financing plans.

Sedation & Hospital Dentistry FAQ

Does my child need sedation dentistry?
While sedation dentistry is helpful, not all patients will need it. Sedation and hospital dentistry is primarily utilized during extensive, complex dental procedures. It can also be utilized to manage a strong gag reflex and to help patients feel at ease if they experience mild to severe dental fears and anxieties. To find out if your child may benefit from pediatric sedation dentistry, contact our office in Lancaster, PA to schedule a consultation.

Which type of sedation is right for my child?
Several factors can influence which sedation option may best suit your child, including age, treatment time, medical history, personality, specific treatment, and fear and anxiety levels. Our team will discuss all available options with you and your child to determine which method works best for them.

How long does oral conscious sedation last?
The effects of oral conscious sedation can last for approximately 12 hours after your dental treatment. It is normal for patients to be drowsy after their procedure, so we recommend ensuring your child is with a trusted adult.

Positive, Stress-Free Visits

At Lancaster Pediatric Dental Associates, we believe every child has the right to enjoy dentistry in a positive, stress-free way. Our team of board-certified specialists is pleased to offer several sedation dentistry options to help children get the dental care they need without fear and anxiety. If your child has mild to severe dental fear, please talk to our Lancaster, PA team today and learn about the differences our compassionate care and sedation options can make in their life.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.