Nitrous Oxide/Conscious Sedation

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide/oxygen or commonly known as “laughing gas” is used very commonly in pediatric dentistry to help the patient relax while receiving dental care. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is given through a small breathing mask which is placed over the child’s nose, allowing them to relax, but without putting them to sleep. It is easily taken by normal breathing and is eliminated easily when we exhale. 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recognizes nitrous oxide/oxygen inhalation as a safe and effective technique to reduce anxiety, produce analgesia, and enhance effective communication between a patient and health care provider. Nitrous oxide is a colorless and virtually odorless gas with a faint, sweet smell. It is very safe, it is non-addictive and has no effect on respiratory system, while on the gas the child remains fully conscious and keeps all natural reflexes. 

Prior to your Appointment with Nitrous Oxide/oxygen:

  • Please inform us of any change to your child’s health/medical condition and let us know if your child is taking any medication on the day of the appointment
  • Tell us of any respiratory condition that might interfere with nose breathing, this may limit the effectiveness of the nitrous oxide/oxygen.


Conscious Sedation

Conscious Sedation is recommended for very young children, anxious/apprehensive children, children with extensive dental needs and children with special needs. It is used to reduce anxiety or discomfort associated with dental treatments and to calm your child if there are any fears. After the sedation is administered your child may feel very tired and drowsy and might even fall asleep, but your child will never lose consciousness. If aroused your child will wake up and respond to stimuli. 

There are many different medications, which can be used to sedate your child. The doctor will administer the medication that best suits your child’s health and needs. If you have any questions about medications administered please ask us we will be happy to assist you. 

Prior to your Sedation appointment:

  • Your child should not have solid food for at least 8 hours prior to their sedation appointment and only clear liquids for up to 6 hours before the appointment. (Milk is considered a solid)
  • The child’s parent or legal guardian must remain at the office during the complete procedure. 
  • Please notify us of any change in your child’s health/medical condition. If your child gets sick especially a congested chest, cough, nasal discharge and wheezing the appointment will be canceled. Should your child become ill or if you have any questions about signs or symptoms, contact us to see if it is necessary to postpone the appointment. 
  • You must inform us of any drugs that your child is taking and of any drug reactions.
  • Dress your child in loose fitting, comfortable clothing and bring their favorite toy and or blanket. 
  • Please make sure that your child goes to the bathroom prior to starting dental treatment. 
  • Please watch your child closely while the medication is taking effect. Hold them in your lap or keep close to you. Do not let them “run around.” They can take part in relaxed activities like reading, coloring or puzzles.
  • Your child may become slightly excited at first but then will start to act drowsy. 

During the sedation appointment:

During the sedation appointment, the vital signs will be monitored at all times. At the same time, Nitrous oxide will be administered and a local anesthetic will be used to numb the teeth that need to be treated. 

After the sedation appointment:

  • Your child will be drowsy and will need to be monitored very closely. 
  • Please keep your child with you for the rest of the day and away from areas of potential harm. 
  • Your child will be hungry, at first it is best to give your child sips of clear liquids to prevent nausea. The first meal should be light and easily digestible.
  • If your child wants to sleep, let them, but place them on their side with their chin up. Please wake your child every hour and encourage them to have something to drink in order to prevent dehydration.
  • Your child might feel sick after sedation. If your child vomits, help them bend over and turn their head to the side to insure that they do not inhale the vomit.
  • We use local anesthetic to numb your child’s mouth during the procedure. The mouth will be numb approximately 2-4 hours. Watch to see that your child does not bite, scratch, or injure the cheek, lips, or tongue during this time
  • Please call our office for any questions or concerns that you might have.

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