Sedation & General Anesthesia

A Safari Dental knows that trips to the dentist can cause high anxiety among patients. Dr. Pettinato II provides a wide variety of sedation options including general anesthesia, which is administered at Saint Joeseph's Hospital.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding sedation, or anesthesia please contact us and we will happily answer them.


When administered in combination with oxygen, nitrous oxide (known as happy or laughing gas) helps patients overcome the anxiety associated with a dental visit. This technique works best with patients that understand the need to complete dental work but merely have concerns about the smells, sounds, tastes or time required to sit still. Your child will be fully awake and will breathe the gas in through a small rubber nose placed over their nose. This treatment assists in relaxing the patient, and will not cause them to sleep or alter their state of consciousness.

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Oral sedation is used if a patient shows high levels of anxiety during dental treatment, or if they are still show signs of anxiety after nitrous oxide treatment. Oral sedation uses medication in order to help your child through the necessary dental services. Mild sedation is recommended for apprehensive patients, patients unwilling to maintain the nasal mask for nitrous oxide or very young patients that struggle with the necessary procedures.

A variety of medications can be used for sedation, but the dental staff will assure that only medication based on your child's particular needs will be dispensed. After medication has been administered, some children fall asleep or get very drowsy, but they do not lose consciousness completely, can respond to requests and interact with the dental personnel. This procedure works well with the majority of patients; however, for some patients oral sedation is not enough. For patients in need of stronger sedation options, we can offer sedation via an IV in our office or General Anesthesia in a hospital setting at Saint Joseph's Hospital.

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For children too young or unable to use oral sedation, we offer IV sedation. IV sedation is most commonly used when removing wisdom teeth, but this can be a viable option for some of our patients. Because your child's safety is our number one priority we bring in a Board Certified Pediatric Anesthesiologist from All Children's Hospital and a Pediatric Nurse for any procedure involving IV sedation. Your child will be properly monitored by the most appropriately trained medical doctor. IV sedation allows for children to sleep comfortably through their treatment. The effect typically wares off by the time your child gets home.

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General anesthesia is recommended in rare situations when other options are unavailable. Typically this is an option only if your child has an extensive treatment plan, are very young or if they have a specific medical condition that prevents other sedations options. All uses of general anesthesia is administered at Saint Joesph's Hospital by hospital staff. General anesthesia will render your child completely unconscious for the entire duration of the dental procedure.

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Meet Your Dentist!

Dr. Frank Pettinato II
  • Board Certified Pediatric Dentist
  • Masters in Science Degree
  • Diplomate, American Board of Pediatric Dentistry