Sedation is endorsed by the American Dental Association and is an effective way to make many patients comfortable during their dental visit. Before using a sedative or anesthetic, it is important to tell your pediatric dentist about any medications or medical treatment your child is receiving.
Safety is our number one priority. Therefore, it is extremely important that children remain calm and still during dental treatment to avoid unexpected injury to themselves or members of the dental team. For children who are a little nervous or have never received dental procedures, nitrous oxide/oxygen for analgesia can be greatly beneficial in helping children relax.
• It is safe. Children remain awake, responsive, and breathe on their own without assistance.
• Much more oxygen is given than what we breathe in normal room air. This provides a wide margin of safety.
• Nitrous oxide/oxygen is usually breathed through a small mask placed over the nose.
• Dental treatment is more comfortable when children are relaxed.
• It is sometimes known as “laughing gas” because some patients become so comfortable and relaxed that they laugh.
• The pediatric dentists will often request that no food or drink be given to the child before treatment.
• A local anesthetic is usually given to numb the areas that are to be treated so that there is very little discomfort.
• Oxygen is usually given at the end of treatment to remove the effects of nitrous oxide gas.
• Once nitrous oxide is turned off, it only takes seconds for the gas to completely leave the body.
We do not use any form of physical restraint unless absolutely necessary for urgent situations (extractions or injuries sustained secondary to facial trauma). Our main goal is to always keep our patients comfortable to reinforce a positive experience. If your child is worried by the sight, sounds or sensations of dental treatment, he or she may respond more positively with the use of nitrous oxide/oxygen. On the other hand, for patients who may be anxious, fearful, too young to understand dental treatment, or unable to cooperate, additional supplement, such as an oral sedation medication, may help to facilitate a child’s dental treatment.