Pediatric Sedation & Anesthesia

Big Smiles Ranch checking in a
patients mother
Team member of Big Smiles Ranch
carrying an infant patient

The Problem

Let's face it, dentistry has a bad reputation. When we don't want to do something, we say we'd rather have a root canal, or if something is really hard, we say it's like pulling teeth. Too many people have had a bad experience as a child receiving dental work. Uncompassionate or untrained dentists, whose only goal is just get the work done, will use papoose boards and not let parents back for treatment. This carries over to a lifetime of fear and apprehension and a true dread of going to the dentist. Our office does not believe in this philosophy. We believe high-quality dentistry includes great dental work with a great patient experience.

Our Guarantee

When providing your child with dental care, we will follow our core values, and we will approach every encounter with your child with Fun, Excellence, Teamwork, Compassion, and Honest Communication.

How Do We Do It?

How is this even possible? Unfortunately there is no "Special Magic Pill," but our Board Certified Pediatric Dentists continually undergo very extensive training in the practice of sedation dentistry. Our office provides different levels of sedation dentistry to custom tailor to the treatment needs of our individual patients. Along with diagnosing a cavity, and the proper treatment for your child's tooth, this is where our expertise really comes into diagnosing the best way to complete your child's treatment.

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What is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous Oxide Analgesia is a combination of oxygen and Nitrous Oxide that is breathed through the nose. The effects of Nitrous Oxide produce a feeling of well-being and relaxation. In some patients it will produce a feeling of giddiness or euphoria, which is why it is often called laughing gas. Some patients will feel a tingly sensation in their arms and legs and feel “floaty” during their procedure. Nitrous Oxide can reduce a patient's pain threshold and make time appear to pass much quicker.

What Patients does Nitrous Oxide work best for?

Typically, Nitrous Oxide works well for most children ages 5 and up that may have small dental procedures. Nitrous Oxide also works very well for older children that may be a little nervous. We typically do recommend Nitrous Oxide for routine treatment procedures to make our patients as comfortable as possible.

What Patients does Nitrous Oxide not work for?

Nitrous Oxide is not effective on all children. Most children under the age of 5 don't have the cooperation skills to undergo their dental work with just Nitrous Oxide. Also, children with extensive dental procedures, children that are fearful, children with low pain tolerances, children with a sensitive gag reflex, and children with uncooperative behaviors won't do well under Nitrous Oxide Sedation.


What is Moderate Sedation?

Moderate Sedation is a combination of oral medications that is given before the dental procedure. The oral medications are also used in combination with Nitrous Oxide. Moderate Sedation produces a more profound effect of being relaxed and drowsy than Nitrous Oxide alone. However, a Moderate Sedation does not put your child to sleep (see General Anesthesia). Your child is awake and responsive, but is in a state of deep relaxation – or La La Land. The best analogy to a Moderate Sedation is how the movies depict hypnosis: your child is awake and responds to interactions, but is very, very relaxed.

What Patients does Moderate Sedation work best for?

Children ages 3 and above with extensive dental treatment do very well with a Moderate Sedation. Children that are apprehensive, have a low pain tolerance, or children with a gag reflex, may be able to tolerate a dental procedure much easier.

What Patients does Moderate Sedation Not Work for?

Children under the age of 3 are not candidates for a Moderate Sedation procedure due to their age. Children that have a difficult time taking an oral medication also do not do well with Moderate Sedation. Children that have extensive dental treatment that cannot be treated in two visits are also not candidates for Moderate Sedation. Some children are too apprehensive or uncooperative, even with taking an oral medication. For these children, we would recommend General Anesthesia.


What is General Anesthesia?

General Anesthesia is a combination of inhaled gasses (anesthetics) and intravenous (IV) medications that put a patient in a sleep-like state for a surgical procedure. Under General Anesthesia, a patient feels no pain because they have a loss of consciousness. For General Anesthesia a second provider is required, so these procedures are only performed in a hospital or out-patient surgery center setting. Just as a child would have a routine procedure with an Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor to place ear tubes, our office will complete all dental treatment in a single-visit day surgery.

What patients does General Anesthesia work best for?

General anesthesia is recommended for young children, children with extensive dental work, special needs patients, and patients that just cannot cooperate for dental treatment with any other sedation option.

What patients does General Anesthesia not work for?

Some children with extensive medical issues may not be candidates for General Anesthesia in West Texas. Often these patients must be seen at major medical centers with Specialty Anesthesiologists such at Children's Medical Center in Dallas or Cook Children's in Ft. Worth.

Drop Us A Line

We look forward to meeting you and your cowpokes.
Call (432) 272-1190 or request an appointment online to set up your first visit. We'll be in touch soon.