Treating dental caries can be challenging in the dental chair for the apprehensive patient. The doctor must have an understanding of child psychology, pharmacology as well as child development sprinkled with lots of love and patience. The goal of our office is not to sedate every child presenting with caries. However, we recognize that every child is different with their own set of experiences. Some do very well without nitrous oxide while others require deep sedation for the same type of work. It is this very reason why we provide options for our patients and parents. Regardless of the decision made, we make sure our children are treated in the safest, least invasive manner possible so that they may have the ultimate positive dental experience.
Sedation dentistry is endorsed by the American Dental Association and the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry. It is an effective way to make many patients comfortable during their dental visit. Before administering any sedative or anesthetic, Dr. Bracy or Dr. Chay will talk to you about the process of sedation and pre- and post-sedation instructions.
Sedation dentistry is most helpful for children with major treatment, a very anxious child, a child with past traumatic dental experience (sound and smell aversion), one with a strong gag reflex, and those medically compromised or have special needs.
What is Nitrous oxide/oxygen? Also known as “laughing gas”, it is a blend of 2 gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. When inhaled, it is absorbed by the body and has a calming effect. It can also help to reduce gag reflex. Normal breathing eliminates nitrous oxide/oxygen from the body.
How will my child feel when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen? Your child will feel calm and relaxed. Your child is awake, responsive and breathes on his/her own without assistance.
How safe is nitrous oxide/oxygen? It is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry. It is easily administered and also quickly eliminated from the body.
Are there any lingering effects or special care after nitrous oxide/oxygen? No. All the nitrous oxide is completely out of your child’s system by the time the appointment is over. At the end of the appointment your child is given 100% oxygen to breath for several minutes. After the appointment no special care is required.
Are there special instructions prior to having nitrous oxide/oxygen? We ask that your child not eat a heavy meal prior to his/her dental appointment. Also, let us know about any respiratory conditions that make breathing through the nose difficult for your child. Also let us know if your child is on any medications.
Will nitrous oxide/oxygen work for all children? We know that not all children are alike! Some children will not need or benefit from the use of nitrous oxide/oxygen, although many do. Our doctors have undergone comprehensive training to administer nitrous oxide in a safe environment for your child. For children who cannot cooperate due to psychological or emotional immaturities and/or mental, physical, or medical disability, advanced behavior guidance techniques may be considered such as options mentioned below.