Anxiety-Free Treatment for Children

If your child has dental anxiety, Northwest Arkansas Pediatric Dentistry offers sedation dentistry to help ease their worry.

Why Use Sedation Dentistry?

At Northwest Arkansas Pediatric Dentistry, we work hard daily to make your child's ongoing care as warm, friendly, positive, and comfortable as possible.

If this approach isn't enough to help them relax, there are options to ease your child's anxiety and make their appointment as stress-free as possible.

Some reasons that children may benefit from more advanced behavior management techniques include:

  • If they are too young to sit still for longer appointments
  • If they are anxious/fearful and can use some help coping with a procedure
  • If they have a severe gag reflex
  • If they are overly prone to fidgeting and other nervous movements that could adversely affect treatment outcomes
  • If they are in need of advanced treatment that requires a significant amount of time
  • If your child has a complex medical condition with the inability to tolerate dental treatment in a traditional setting
  • If your child has previously had a difficult dental experience or an unsuccessful dental visit

Nitrous Oxide or "Laughing Gas"

Nitrous oxide, better known as "laughing gas," is available in our office and provides an anxious-free visit for your child’s dental appointments. The sweet-smelling, colorless gas causes most people to feel happy, relaxed, and even giggly.

Laughing gas can ease your child's fears and help them relax while receiving dental treatment comfortably and safely.

As the safest and mildest form of sedation available, a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide flows through a comfortably fitting mask that rests gently over your child's nose.

Before removing the mask, we'll deliver 100% oxygen for several minutes to ensure the nitrous oxide is eliminated from their system.

At the end of your child's treatment, the effects caused by nitrous oxide disappear almost immediately, and your child should feel completely normal, ready to head back home or to school right afterward.

On rare occasions, nitrous oxide may cause nausea. For this reason, most pediatric dentists suggest minimal food intake before the appointment.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Ensuring all our patients have safe and comfortable dental visits is one of our top priorities. Some children may have a heightened level of dental anxiety or have more than a minimal amount of dental work to be completed. These patients may benefit from a moderate level of sedation known as oral conscious sedation.

At Northwest Arkansas Pediatric Dentistry, we strive to build trust and long-lasting relationships where children feel comfortable coming to the dentist. Every child achieves that level of comfort and ease at a different pace. Oral Conscious Sedation is a great option to help kids through a needed procedure when they are still experiencing some level of anxiety or uncertainty.

How Does It Work?

Oral Conscious Sedation is a moderate form of sedation where the patient drinks some medicine and relaxes in the waiting room for a period of time before starting any treatment. Once we move to the dental chair, the child will also receive nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” to enhance the sedation. Generally, kids remain in a relaxed and drowsy state while continuing to answer all questions and follow all instructions from the doctor and assistants during the procedure.

This form of sedation is an easy way to further reduce any heightened stress or anxiety a child may have related to any dental procedure. Dr. Ward and Dr. Platt follow the most up-to-date recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry to ensure each child receives a safe and effective sedation procedure.

At the end of your child's sedation appointment, the effects caused by nitrous oxide disappear almost immediately but the effects of the oral medicine may linger up to several hours. It is recommended that your child should remain at home under parental supervision for the rest of the day following an oral conscious sedation appointment.

If oral conscious sedation is an appropriate option for your child, Dr. Ward or Dr. Platt will review further instructions and what to expect before, during, and after the procedure.

General Anesthesia

At Northwest Arkansas Pediatric Dentistry, we'll help your child have a great visit every time. We always encourage kids to be brave and take the time to work with them to love the dentist. Our goal is to provide care for our patients in the office without sedation or general anesthesia.

However, there are times when general anesthesia is needed for the child's safety and well-being to provide necessary dental care and restore your child's smile. It is used in select cases to ensure that your child receives comprehensive dental care in a safe, controlled, and stress-free manner.

How Does It Work?

General anesthesia, or being "put to sleep," is a controlled state of unconsciousness. It is performed in a hospital outpatient setting by a trained anesthesiologist who monitors your child while they are "asleep" as Dr. Ward or Dr. Platt completes the dental work.

This is a great opportunity for some children with extensive needs to get dental treatment completed at once without the anxiety of multiple appointments in the dental chair.

If general anesthesia is deemed appropriate for your child, Dr. Ward or Dr. Platt will review detailed instructions for what to expect before, during, and after the surgery.

Is General Anesthesia Right for My Child?

General anesthesia is sometimes the best option for highly anxious children and some children with complex medical conditions. Examples of why some children may benefit from general anesthesia include:

  • Extreme dental anxiety or inability to cooperate due to a young age
  • Multiple appointments are required due to the amount of work
  • If the child is unable to tolerate dental treatment after attempting all other options
  • Avoiding the possible emotional trauma in order to complete the necessary dental treatment
  • Some patients with special health care needs who are unable to tolerate dental treatment in a traditional setting

Learn More About Sedation Dentistry

Dr. Ward, Dr. Platt, and their team provide the best care for children throughout Fayetteville. They understand that the needs of each child are unique and take the time to review all available options.

Let us make dental appointments for your child a little less scary, more comfortable, and fun! If you have any questions about the best options available for your child, contact us to learn more.