Most children who need dental treatment are able to complete it safely without any form of sedation.

Children who are very young or who have a high level of anxiety that interferes with the cooperation necessary for treatment may require some level of light sedation. Sedation is also helpful for special needs children. There are several safe and effective medications available today that can help relax a child and promote a good environment for optimal and safe dental treatment.

NITROUS OXIDE (laughing gas) is an option for children who are mildly apprehensive. Nitrous oxide is a sweet-smelling colorless gas that can be used to employ children’s imagination during treatment with suggestive visualization and creativity to make a long dental visit much easier to sit through. When nitrous oxide is inhaled, it makes most children feel happy, relaxed and sometimes giggly, hence the name “laughing gas”. Nitrous oxide is a very safe and comfortable way to help many children receive the treatment they need. Children stay fully aware of their surroundings and interact freely with the dental team.

Dr. Steven is also on staff at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital and is able to treat children with severe dental disease under GENERAL ANESTHESIA.

Different treatment options are always discussed with parents long before treatment to ensure the right care for your child is given.


  • An anxious child
  • Children who require major treatment
  • Children that have had traumatic dental experiences in the past
  • Children with a strong gag reflex
  • Children who are medically compromised or have special needs


As of April 2016, Dr. Harris and Children’s Dentistry of Gales Ferry (Dr. Steven) will now also have the services of Dr. Chet Sokolosky, a Board Certified Dental Anesthesiologist who will provide deeper levels of sedation for our young pediatric patients, special needs patients, and adult patients requiring procedures that warrant deeper levels of sedation.

Dr. Sokolowski practiced general dentistry for 20 years before deciding to enter a dental anesthesiology residency. He holds a certificate in I.V. sedation from the Medical College of Georgia. He then completed a three-year residency at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dentistry/University of anesthesiology program. Dr. Sokolowski is a part time Assistant Clinical Professor of dental anesthesiology at the University of Pittsburgh and clinical instructor of anesthesiology at Yale’s residency program in pediatric dentistry. He spends the remainder of his time in private practice limiting his practice to providing sedation/general anesthesia to the special needs, pediatric, and phobic adult dental populations. Dr. Sokolowski holds dual Diplomate status in Dental Anesthesiology in the National Dental Board of Anesthesiology and the American Board of Dental Anesthesiology. He is licensed to provide anesthesia in CT, PA, VA, and NY.