Our office is specially designed for children and adolescents. Many children are calm, comfortable, and confident in our pediatric dental office because the doctors specialize in treating children. Sometimes, however, a child my experience anxiety during treatment. Your child may need more support than a gentle, caring manner to help them feel comfortable. Talk to the doctor about which treatment option would be a good fit for your child.
Local anesthesia is the elimination of sensation/feeling, especially pain, in one part of the mouth by the topical application or injection of a local anesthetic drug.
Nitrous oxide, sometimes referred to as “laughing gas,” is an effective and safe sedation agent that is inhaled through a mask that fits over your child’s nose. Mixed with oxygen, nitrous oxide allows the patient to breathe normally through their nose, and within minutes they should start to feel the effects. They may feel light-headed or notice a tingling in their arms and legs. Some patients comment that their legs and arms feel heavy. Ultimately, they should feel comfortable and calm. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off quickly after the mask is removed. Talk to the doctor about whether nitrous oxide would be a good option for your child.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sedation Dentistry
What is nitrous oxide/oxygen?
It is a blend of two gases – oxygen and nitrous oxide. When inhaled, it is absorbed by the body and has a calming effect. Normal breathing eliminates nitrous oxide from the body. Room air has approximately 20% oxygen and our nitrous systems are designed to provide at least 50% oxygen.
How will my child feel when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen?
Your child will smell this “goofy air” and experience a sense of well-being and relaxation. If the sights, sounds, or sensations of dental treatment worry your child, he or she may respond more positively to the use of nitrous oxide.
How safe is nitrous oxide/oxygen?
Very safe! Nitrous oxide/oxygen is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry. It is non-addictive. It is mild, easily administered, and then quickly eliminated by the body. Your child remains fully conscious & keeps all natural reflexes when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen.
Are there any special instructions for nitrous oxide/oxygen?
- The child may have a small snack before the dental visit (occasionally, nausea or vomiting occurs when a child has an overfull stomach).
- Tell one of our staff members about any congestion or sickness that makes breathing through the nose difficult for your child (a common cold, sinus problems, etc.). It may limit the effectiveness of nitrous oxide/oxygen.
- Tell our doctors or staff if your child is taking any medication on the day of the appointment.
Will Nitrous oxide/oxygen work for all children?
Our doctors know that all children are not alike. Every service is tailored to your child as an individual. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is not effective for some children, especially those who have severe anxiety, nasal congestion, or extensive treatment needs. Our doctors have comprehensive specialty training and can offer other sedation methods that are right for your child.
In Office Conscious Oral Sedation
For moderate to long treatment procedures, no oral medicine has been proven more safe or effective for anxious or difficult children than the medications we use in our office. Our doctors use up to a 3 medicine combination of Chloral Hydrate, Vistaril, & Demerol to allow the patient to:
- ‘Relax’ during their dental treatment
- Prevent the patient from remembering the entire portion of their dental treatment (retro-amnesia) even if they were to awake during the procedure, which in turn decreases any anxiety about coming to the dentist and promotes a positive attitude toward dentistry
- Utilize a systemic pain medication (analgesia) which often will prevent the need for a shot of local anesthesia (lidocaine) and decreases the awareness of the patient during treatment.
Our doctors will conservatively dose your child’s medicine based on weight and age. These medicines are mixed in a liquid and can be taken by cup or a ‘squirter’ (syringed in the mouth, similar to children’s Advil or Tylenol).
If the patient has any allergies, you may provide an approved liquid/juice for your child. The onset of action is usually between 30-45 minutes. During this time, you and your child may remain in our waiting area. Once the medication has had time to take effect (usually 30-45 minutes), one of our staff will bring the patient to the treatment room.
Please be sure that your child does not eat or drink anything after midnight before their dental appointment! If they eat or drink anything, our doctors will reschedule your appointment.
In conjunction with an an anesthesiologist, we also offer general anesthesia if necessary. So that both you and your child are comfortable, the anesthesiologist will meet with you prior to this type of sedation and answer any questions you may have.