Some cases of treatment may require sedation or nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. These options are typically recommended for patients with high anxiety and a fear of the dentist and/or have difficulties sitting still during dental procedures. Other instances where our dentists may recommend sedation or nitrous oxide include a physical handicap, strong gag reflex, low pain tolerance, or extensive dental treatment. The use of nitrous oxide is safe and effective and has been used in many areas of dentistry and medicine for well over 100 years. During the use of nitrous oxide, the child will remain awake and responsive. This is separate from general anesthesia or sedation. If a sedation method such as general anesthesia, oral sedative or an IV sedative is recommended, our pediatric dentists will refer the patient to an affiliate office.
We begin the first steps of administering the gas by first placing a fitted mask over the child’s nose. The child will safely receive more oxygen that he or she breathes in a normal room. The next step is to proceed with the laughing gas. Local anesthetic is given once the nitrous oxide administration has begun. The effects of the laughing gas only last a few minutes after the nitrous oxide shuts off. Oxygen will be given at the end of the procedure and the child will resume back to normal activities, unless notified otherwise. Our pediatric dentists and staff will provide all appropriate and necessary pre and post nitrous oxide instructions.