Nitrous oxide or laughing gas is a mild sedative that may be used to help your child relax during dental treatment. It is very safe and well tolerated. Depending on your child’s level of anxiety, dental treatment needs and medical history, nitrous oxide may be recommended to help complete your child’s dental treatment safely and successfully in the chair.
Nitrous oxide is a blend of two gases - oxygen and nitrous oxide. A fitted scented mask is placed over your child’s nose and your child breathes it in normally. Your child is fully conscious and is able to respond to questions or requests during dental treatment. At the end of treatment, it is breathed out after a short period of breathing oxygen and has no lingering effects. Nitrous oxide has a rapid onset, is reversible and is non-allergenic.
The benefits of nitrous oxide include helping alleviate your child’s dental anxiety, increasing the pain threshold, making the time pass by quickly, helping minimize a gag reflex and keeping the dental visits positive. Nitrous oxide may not be effective for everyone including children with severe anxiety, nasal congestion or discomfort wearing a nasal mask. In addition, there is an added cost to using nitrous oxide that will be provided on the estimate given to you prior to commencing treatment.
General anaesthesia may be indicated for children with extensive dental needs who are extremely fearful or anxious or too young to cooperate during dental procedures. It may also be helpful for children requiring significant surgical procedures or for patients with special health care needs.
General anesthesia uses medications to produce a controlled state of unconsciousness, commonly referred to as being asleep. It is administered by a qualified licensed medical anesthesiologist in an accredited outpatient surgical suite or hospital. Your child will not feel any pain or remember anything during dental treatment under general anesthesia.
If we feel that a general anaesthesia may be required, we will discuss the risks and benefits of general anesthesia and review some important additional information with you.
We know that all children are not alike. Every service we offer at Small to Tall is tailored to your child as an individual. Dr. Michelle and her team will help you decide what is the best way to complete dental treatment for you and your child. Please feel free to ask us any questions you may have about our services.
For more information on these topics, we recommend reading the brochures available at the AAPD here