Sedation Dentistry


Pediatric Services

Local Anesthesia


For certain dental procedures, Dr. Rawson may want to “numb” your child’s tooth and neighboring gums. Local anesthesia refers to a topical and/or injected anesthetic (such as Lidocaine or Septocaine) that is administered in a specific “localized” area to decrease the sensation of pain. Dr. Rawson’s gentle approach will help make your child feel comfortable during local anesthesia administration as well as the entire duration of the dental procedure.


Nitrous Oxide


Nitrous oxide, also called “laughing gas”, is a safe and short-term form of sedation that can reduce your child’s dental anxiety. It is a minimally invasive form of sedation; your child is awake and able to breathe normally during the entire procedure. It is administered through a small mask that fits over your child’s nose. Nitrous oxide is mixed with oxygen and within a few minutes your child may feel a tingling or heavy sensation in his/her arms and legs. It has no long-lasting effects as it completely dissipates from the system once 100% oxygen is administered and the mask is removed; therefore your child is not sedated following their appointment. Dr. Rawson will discuss whether nitrous oxide is a good option for your child’s dental treatment.


General Anesthesia / Hospital Dentistry


Some children with severe dental phobia, special health care needs and/or extensive tooth decay may benefit from a deeper from of sedation. General anesthesia allows your child to be ‘asleep’ for the procedure. It is also referred to as hospital dentistry because it is best performed at the hospital, where your child’s breathing, heart rate and other vital signs can be carefully monitored before, during and after the procedure. Dr. Rawson holds hospital privileges for treatment under general anesthesia at Presbyterian and Lovelace hospitals and can discuss the risks and benefits to help you decide if this is the best option for your child’s needs.


At ABQ Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Rawson and her team take
patient safety very seriously. We aim to always safely treat every child while also making sure that every dental experience is positive, trauma-free and comfortable.


FAQs About Hospital and Sedation Dentistry


Should I sedate my child for dental work?


You know your child better than anyone, but we’re happy to discuss your concerns prior to your child’s procedure and help you make a decision about sedation. Nitrous oxide has a long history of safety and has very few side effects, so we recommend it for young patients, patients with dental anxiety, and children who need extensive dental work.


Is dental nitrous oxide safe?


Yes, nitrous oxide is safe. It has very few risks or side effects, all of which are temporary. If your child has a sensitivity to nitrous oxide, some of these potential side effects include sweating, nausea, shivering, dizziness, and, very rarely, hallucinations.


Does nitrous oxide help with pain?


Nitrous oxide helps ease anxiety and relax patients during dental procedures, but it doesn’t help with pain. When a procedure has the potential to be painful, we use a local anesthetic to numb the area to ensure a pain-free, trauma-free appointment.


Can kids go back to school after laughing gas?


Yes, one of the reasons why laughing gas is used in pediatric dentistry for sedation is because it wears off so quickly. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off minutes after the mask is removed, so your child can go back to school after their procedure.


Is it safe to put a child to sleep for dental work?


General anesthesia certainly has risks that every parent should be aware of, but hospital dentistry performed under the care of a trained anesthesiology team is safe when milder forms of sedation are not an option.