Sedation And Hospital Dentistry
for Kids In Rockville & Gaithersburg

Understanding the Need for
Children's sedation Dentistry

While Dr. Ball's extensive knowledge and experience in the principles of minimally invasive pediatric dentistry can treat the majority of children's dental needs, there are cases where a deep level of sedation is required to complete a child's necessary dental treatment.

If you believe, or have been told by a dental provider, that your child requires IV sedation or general anesthesia, we can help. Dr. Ball can complete a clinical and behavioral evaluation of your child to determine if there are reasonable alternatives and review pros & cons with you.

Dr. Ball has completed over 500 general anesthesia dental surgeries to date, and although she no longer personally treats children in the hospital setting, she has partnered with her pediatric dental colleague, Dr. Wendy Daulat, to be able to offer hospital dentistry for children in Rockville and the surrounding area.

A few examples of why a hospital setting with GA may be appropriate include:

Extensive treatment needs + young age
Coping or cooperation difficulties
Complex or special health care needs

If you are unsure if your child requires sedation dentistry, call us today to schedule an evaluation, and we can help determine what the best choice is for you and your family.

Alternatives to Sedation Dentistry

While we recognize the need for sedation for some children under certain circumstances, we strongly feel that offering a calm and friendly atmosphere goes a long way in allowing children and their parents to feel at ease. Our personable approach, combined with our emphasis on minimally invasive treatment options means we can offer treatment plans that do not require sedation of any kind, or where we can offer the use of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) instead.

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combating dental anxiety

Many children may be nervous when visiting the dentist. Dr. Ball is skilled and adept at making kids feel at ease by using the tell-show-do technique and using age-appropriate language to engage child patients. She genuinely enjoys connecting with kids and allowing them to experience positive dental visits.

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Dr. Ball and her team are experts at making children feel welcome and special. We are genuinely cheerful and enjoy what we do, and kids can feel they are in a safe and nurturing space with people who care. We have a non-threatening environment to keep you and your child calm, comfortable, and relaxed.

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Safe and simple mild sedation

Our goal is to instill a positive attitude towards dental visits. Sometimes, adding laughing gas (nitrous oxide) to procedures which may be uncomfortable or lengthy is the "secret sauce" to keeping children calm, comfortable, and relaxed. The best part is, laughing gas is a very safe form of mild sedation that is well tolerated and can be highly effective.

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Child-Friendly Sedation Dentistry

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Avoid Negative Memories with Hospital Dentistry

Children are constantly learning, and through their experiences developing a unique view of the world around them. Early formative experiences, such as visits to the dentist, can impact the way in which they view dentistry in the future. If a child is highly uncooperative, overly anxious or fearful, or just in need of extensive treatment or surgery which cannot be dealt with using minimally invasive dentistry methods, the use of general anesthesia can help.

Hospital dentistry will minimize medicinal risk and protect your child’s developing mind by inhibiting the formation of negative associations between painful or scary procedures and the treatment of their dental problems. Depending on your child’s age, anxiety level, severity of dental disease, and other factors, dentistry with general anesthesia may be your child's best choice.

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Dr. Ball smiling with another dentist

Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Nitrous oxide, more commonly known as laughing gas, can be a great option to complete your child's dental treatment. Depending on a child's age, the extent of their treatment needs, and their ability and willingness to cooperate, this safe and effective modality can allow us to provide their care in our office and avoid deep sedation in the hospital setting.

A little extra info about laughing gas: It is a colorless, slightly sweet-smelling gas that is very safe and tolerated well by most children.  The nitrous oxide/oxygen mixture is inhaled via a nasal mask and takes effect after approximately 5 minutes. 

Nitrous oxide in the dental office is never used as a general anesthetic, and it is not intended to put a child “to sleep”.  Depending on the procedure, local anesthetic may still be necessary. Nitrous oxide can decrease fear, anxiety, apprehension, hyperactive gag reflex and pain sensations.  It can also produce sensations of euphoria, drowsiness, warmth, and tingling of the hands and feet.

Since nitrous oxide generally provides a pleasant sensation, it enables children to remain relaxed longer for their dental treatment. Uncommon side effects may include nausea, and/or vomiting (0.5%). To help minimize side effects, we recommend that your child not eat 2 hours prior to their appointment, however, NPO status is not required and does not pose a safety risk, since protective reflexes are still intact. It's just that it's less unpleasant if the last meal is not regurgitated, if your child happens to get nauseated and vomits.

Recovery from nitrous oxide sedation is fast. The effects of the gas are gone a few minutes after it's turned off, and your child will be back to normal. However, some children may appear a little bit withdrawn or sleepy after treatment. This is a natural reaction, much like waking from a nap, but there are no restrictions on their activities.

Common FAQs About Sedation Dentistry and
Hospital Dentistry For Children

Have questions about sedation dentistry or hospital dentistry in Rockville? Get answers!

Is Hospital Dentistry Only For Emergencies?

Not necessarily. Some situations require that a child be treated under general anesthesia, and most dental offices do not have the equipment or the certification to carry that out. Some children may have coping or cooperation issues, an exceedingly complex procedure, or could just be too young to handle the treatment they require.

Giving Back: Raising Funds for St. Jude’s

Dr. Ball’s commitment to helping children does not stop at the doors of her dental practice. A portion of the proceeds from every new patient visit will be donated to St. Jude's in order to support the fight to end childhood cancer.