Sedation and Hospital Dentistry

9.jpgDr. Pankratz and Dr. Klepacki have built a reputation in Littleton, Colorado as both expert pediatric dentists who genuinely care about their patients. Many of our patients request a sedative at their appointments, and our team has a number of options to reduce anxiety, pain, and nervousness,

including full general anesthesia. If you are interested in any level of sedation for your child, we encourage you to speak with our team and schedule an appointment to determine the best solution for your individual needs.


Our doctors are also prepared to offer comprehensive care to patients who are unable to visit the office--no matter the reason. To learn more about off-site care and sedation care for your child, give our office a call and a team member will gladly answer any questions you may have.


What Is Sedation Dentistry?

There are several different types of sedation, including nitrous oxide ("laughing gas"), IV sedation, oral sedatives and general anesthetic. Sedation can range from the use of nitrous oxide to help the patient relax to general anesthetics used to put patients to sleep. Patients with dental phobia, low pain tolerance, major dental treatment, physical handicaps or strong gag reflexes may require sedation.   

Procedures like fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, extractions, cosmetic procedures and periodontal treatments often require sedation as well. For apprehensive patients who require less intensive measures, Dr. Scott Pankratz has found that simple weighted blankets – blankets made with a soft, comfortable lining but filled with smooth river rocks – gently laid over the patient is effective in making our patients feel calm and secure.  

Before using a sedative or anesthetic, it is important to tell your pediatric dentist about any medications or medical treatments your child is receiving. Before administering any sedative or anesthetic, your pediatric dentist will educate you about the process of sedation and pre-and post-sedation instructions.

Should I Consider Laughing Gas For My Child?

Nitrous oxide, more commonly known as laughing gas, is frequently used as a sleepless sedative during a dental visit. The gas is fused with oxygen and has a calming influence that makes it easier for phobic or nervous patients to relax throughout their dental visit. Patients are still conscious and able to talk to their pediatric dentist during their treatment.   

As the procedure concludes, the nitrous is turned off and oxygen is controlled for five to ten minutes to dilute any nitrous left over; the numb feeling wears off almost instantaneously. Nitrous oxide seldom has side effects, although some patients have reported slight nausea and/ or constipation. Our pediatric dental specialists will administer pre-and post-sedation instructions, so you are never left in the dark.

Outpatient Dental Procedures Using General Anesthesia  

Outpatient General Anesthesia is recommended for apprehensive children, very young children, and children with special needs that would not be suitable for conscious or I.V. sedation. General anesthesia renders your child completely asleep and free of feeling, as if your child was having their tonsils removed. Both Dr. Pankratz and Dr. Klepacki administer general anesthesia in a hospital or outpatient setting only, and not currently in our office. 

While the assumed risks are greater than that of other treatment options, if this is suggested for your child, the benefits of treatment this way have been deemed to outweigh the risks. Current pediatric medical literature places the risk of a serious reaction in the range of 1 in 25,000 to 1 in 200,000, far better than the assumed risk of even driving a car daily. 

Hospitalization Dentistry  

For those who are unable to undergo traditional dental care, hospital dentistry offers a gentle, efficient alternative. Patients with certain disabilities may not have the capacity for a rigorous dental schedule. In some cases, these patients may be unable to travel outside of the hospital setting for treatment. Also, patients who have compromised mental functions may feel heightened anxiety concerning some dental responsibilities. Occasionally, dental problems and medical problems may be linked, demanding the presence of both a medical doctor and a dentist. These cases require localized, comprehensive care; our Littleton, Co hospital dentists can provide this.   Treatments range from short-term maintenance of oral health to long-term, reconstructive work or dentofacial surgery.
The dentists who work on-call within hospitals have typically received specialized training in hospital dentistry or through hospital-based courses or residency programs. More often, they have additional training in oral surgery and medicine. This blend of experience and education empowers them to analyze the complexities of their patients’ needs. Southwest Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics is very fortunate to have both of our pediatric dental specialists,  Dr. Scott Pankratz and Dr. Kyle Klepacki, pre-credentialed to practice hospital dentistry at Children's Hospital here in Colorado. 

If hospital dentistry is needed, we will help you make arrangements and assist with your paperwork. If you have any questions about hospital dentistry or think that it may be necessary for you or for someone you love, please contact our Littleton office and we will be happy to help

Schedule Your Child's Appointment Today

Whether you’re looking for hospital based care or sedation dental treatment, Southwest Pediatric

Dentistry & Orthodontics has a solution for you. Schedule your appointment today, or get more

information about your specific needs, and find out why our office is "Where Smiles Grow Up!”

We look forward to meeting your child and helping them build a beautiful smile.