Nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas”, is widely used in pediatric dental offices when children receive dental care. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognizes this as a very safe, effective technique to help children relax during dental treatment. It is ideal for use in our office because it is very safe, begins to work rapidly, and is quickly eliminated from the body. Children are not put to sleep when breathing nitrous oxide, but are fully conscious and keep all natural reflexes.
Please note that nitrous oxide is intended to decrease anxiety. As such, it is not always effective in extremely anxious/fearful children. In those situations, other interventions may be necessary for treatment to be completed in a safe environment. Dr. Brett will discuss all options with you to help you decide which is most appropriate for your child.
Children who are more anxious may need an oral medication that is stronger than nitrous oxide. Several medications have a significant calming effect. When choosing a medication, Dr. Brett will consider your child’s anxiety level, his or her ability to cooperate and the treatment required. With oral sedation, your child may be sleepy but can be aroused if necessary and can respond to simple commands. Minor side effects such as nausea or vomiting can occur with some medications. Before a visit in which your child is to receive oral sedation, you should receive instructions about eating and drinking, what to expect and what to watch for after treatment. Dr. Brett will discuss how your child will be monitored while he or she is sedated. You will need to stay for a short time after dental treatment has been completed so your child can be observed for full recovery.