Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas” is used to help relax children with mild to moderate anxiety about dental work. Nitrous oxide is delivered through a small mask placed over the child’s nose. The effects of Nitrous Oxide help children to relax so they can receive their dental treatment calmly and safely. Nitrous Oxide is recognized by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry as a safe and effective technique to use for treating children’s dental needs. The gas is non-addictive and is eliminated from the body within a few minutes after it is stopped. While inhaling nitrous oxide, your child will remain awake and able to interact with the dental team.
Oral Conscious Sedation
For children who are very young, apprehensive, or have extensive treatment needs, conscious sedation may be necessary. We will give your child an oral medication that will help calm them and minimize the anxiety or discomfort associated with dental treatment. Conscious sedation is intended to make your child drowsy, and possibly even fall asleep, but they will remain conscious. The doctor will help determine which medication will be best for your child’s unique treatment needs.
Prior to Your Appointment
- Your child will need to have a physical exam completed by their pediatrician.
- Inform the dentist of any medical conditions your child may have.
- Inform the dentist of any medications (prescription, over-the-counter, and/or herbal) that your child is taking.
- Your child should not have anything to eat or drink for 6 hours prior to their sedation appointment.
After Sedation Appointment
- Your child may be drowsy and will be monitored until they are ready to be dismissed.
- If your child would like to sleep, place them on their side.
- Your child may begin eating/drinking immediately after treatment. In order to prevent nausea and dehydration begin with small sips of clear liquids. Slowly progress to a soft diet throughout the day. The first meal should be light and easily digestible.
- Please monitor your child closely to avoid lip, cheek, or tongue biting in areas that are numb from local anesthesia.
- Please call our office if you have any questions or concerns about your child.
General Anesthesia may be recommended for very apprehensive children, very young children, children with extensive dental needs, children who are extremely uncooperative, or children with special healthcare needs. General Anesthesia is performed only in a hospital or outpatient surgical center. Your child will be completely asleep and unaware of the dental treatment that is taking place. General Anesthesia is also used for children having tonsils and/or adenoids removed, or ear tubes placed.
While there is some risk associated with general anesthesia, when administered by appropriately trained individuals in an appropriate facility, it is safe and effective. Trained personnel will monitor your child closely to ensure their safety throughout the procedure and manage any complications. We will discuss the risks and benefits of general anesthesia and why it is recommended for your child.