Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)
Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas”, is a gas used to help make the dental experience more comfortable by making time seem to move faster. Nitrous oxide is breathed in through a nosepiece that stays on throughout the procedure. Children will feel more relaxed and often have the sensation of floating or tickling. The effects of the gas are quickly reversed and your child will be back to normal before leaving the dental chair. We recommend nitrous oxide to most of our patients because it is safe, easy, and effective for mild to moderate anxiety.
The goal of conscious sedation is to reduce your child’s fears and anxieties in order to provide necessary dental care in the least stressful manner possible. Sometimes, sedation is given to help pre-cooperative children enter a more cooperative state. Sedation is achieved by having the child drink a mixture of medications with sedative properties. After being sedated, approximately 3/4 of children will relax and do well for their dental treatment. It is the expectation that your child will remain AWAKE yet not be fearful while few may sleep on and off throughout the treatment. About 1/4 of the children will resist the oncoming sedative state and will cry and be restrained for all or part of the treatment. On occasion, a child will become very disruptive and their behavior may become difficult to manage due to the medication. Don’t be alarmed if your child behaves in this matter, our staff is trained to handle these situations. The doctor will review your child’s medical history prior to any sedation visit.
Deeper Levels of Sedation/General Anesthesia.
Some children may have extreme anxiety, special needs, extensive dental work, or are too young to cooperate. In these situations, deeper levels of sedation or general anesthesia may be indicated in order to complete dental treatment. We no longer offer these services in our office but refer out to other pediatric dental offices or dental offices that offer these deeper levels of sedation.