Nitrous oxide - The pediatric dentist may recommend nitrous oxide (more commonly known as “laughing gas”) for children who exhibit particular signs of nervousness or anxiety. Nitrous oxide is delivered via a mask, which is placed over the child’s nose. Nitrous oxide is always combined with oxygen – meaning that the child can comfortably breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Laughing gas relaxes children extremely quickly, and can produce happy, euphoric behavior. It is also quick acting, painless to deliver, and wears off within a matter of minutes. Before removing the mask completely, the pediatric dentist delivers regular oxygen for several minutes, to ensure the nitrous oxide is eliminated from the child’s body. On rare occasions, nitrous oxide may cause nausea. For this reason, most pediatric dentists suggest minimal food intake prior to the appointment.
What is General Anesthesia?
General anesthetic (which puts the child in a deep sleep), is rarely used in dental work unless:
A procedure cannot otherwise be performed safely.
The child has a condition which limits cooperation or the ability to follow instructions.
The child needs a lengthy treatment.
The child needs more complex dental treatment or oral surgery.
General anesthetic requires more intensive preparation before the treatment and a longer period of recovery after the treatment.
If you have questions or concerns about Nitrous Oxide or General Anesthesia please contact us.