Boy getting Nitrous Oxid

Safe Dental Sedation for Kids

It’s totally normal for children to be nervous about going to the dentist. Hey, adults sometimes get nervous too! Thankfully, our pediatric dentist Dr. Roya Pilcher is an expert in helping kids overcome their jitters. For many children, our fun atmosphere, as well as our behavioral management and relaxation techniques will be enough to put them at ease.

However, for others, such as those with special health care needs, kids with extreme dental anxiety or very young patients who require extensive dental procedures, sedation could be an option. At Smile Valley Pediatric Dentistry, we work with a licensed dental anesthesiologist in order to offer pediatric sedation dentistry in Washington, DC right here in our office.

Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

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For some patients, sedation ensures treatment will be safer and we’ll be able to achieve the desired outcome.

In certain cases, particularly when patients are very young, opting for sedation dentistry can allow us to complete multiple procedures in a single visit.

Sedation helps those with special needs, certain medical conditions and/or severe dental anxiety get the care they need in a way that’s stress-free.

Our Sedation Dentistry Options

During her pediatric dental residency, Dr. Roya received in-depth training in sedation and anesthesia. When this approach is used, a licensed dental anesthesiologist comes to the office to administer the medication. Aside from our expertise, we also use cutting-edge monitoring equipment for optimal safety.

After evaluating your child’s needs, medical history and overall health, our dentist will chat with you about the different types of sedation and help you weigh the pros and cons of each. If, together, we decide that sedation is the best choice for your child, options can include:

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” is a mild, conscious sedative that has been proven safe and effective in alleviating dental anxiety in patients of all ages. We’ll administer a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen through a mask to help your child relax during their dental treatment. They’ll be awake during the procedure and able to talk. However, the gas has a calming effect, so they’ll feel happy and probably a little silly. The laughing gas starts working quickly, wears off just as fast and side effects are extremely rare.

IV Sedation

IV sedation is typically used when a patient has extreme dental anxiety that can’t be managed with other forms of sedation or they need lengthy, complex dental treatment, especially if they’re very young or have special health care needs. At Smile Valley Pediatric Dentistry, we bring in an experienced, fully licensed dental anesthesiologist when we administer IV sedation. This ensures sedation will be safe and effective for your child. Our dentist is highly trained in IV sedation and recommends it on a case-by-case basis. We also follow all sedation guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).

An estimated 250,000 pediatric dental sedations are performed each year.

For many patients, nitrous oxide takes effect within 2 to 3 minutes and wears off almost just as quickly.


Nitrous oxide has been used in a dental setting since the early 1840s!

Happy Patients, Healthy Smiles

At our fun, bright pediatric dental office in Washington, DC, we treat all of our patients like VIPs. Let’s work together to give your child the healthy, beautiful smile they deserve. Schedule a visit at Smile Valley Pediatric Dentistry today!

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