Every child deserves to have a positive experience at the dentist and, for some, this can involve the use of nitrous oxide, a form of dental sedation. Young children and those with special needs often have trouble remaining still during dental treatment, and this form of sedation enables them relax and become less active. Nitrous oxide is also commonly used with children who have anxieties or fears about a dental visit, as it provides a calming effect and a sense of well-being.
How Nitrous Oxide Is Used
Also referred to as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. This gas mixture is inhaled through a small breathing mask placed over the child’s face. As the child breathes normally, the sweet-smelling nitrous oxide enters the lungs and provides a mild sedative effect. With this form of dental sedation, the child remains fully awake; however, the perception of pain and time are altered. Nitrous oxide is mild, non-allergenic and is both quick to act and quick to wear off, making it the safest form of dental sedation for treating children.
Why Conscious Dental Sedation is Helpful for Children
Not only is nitrous oxide often recommended due to its safety and effectiveness, but the team here at Smiles 4 Life prefers this dental sedation because it allows children to stay conscious through treatment. This can be quite beneficial, as children are able to respond to physical stimulation and verbal communication from the dental staff. With conscious dental sedation, children feel relaxed and comfortable and are able to cope with dental procedures – and they are able positively contribute to their own treatment, which can give them a sense of control and help them feel better about visiting the dentist.
When Nitrous Oxide is Not Enough
Though nitrous oxide can benefit most anxious and fidgety children, some children may require other forms of dental sedation. Oral sedatives, in tablet or liquid form, can make children feel drowsy, allowing them to be more cooperative during treatment. In cases of extreme anxiety or if extensive dental work must be completed, our dental team may recommended general anesthesia. This dental sedation is provided through an IV and allows children to remain asleep during treatment procedures.
Before using nitrous oxide or other forms of sedation, we will discuss the risks and benefits of dental sedation for your child. Dental sedation at Smiles 4 Life is administered by a dentist or clinician who is licensed and qualified to monitor the sedation during treatment. Call our Columbus office today to learn more about our dental sedation options.