Some children are given nitrous oxide/oxygen, or what you may know as “laughing gas”, to relax them for their dental treatment. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. 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. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, recognizes this technique as a very safe, effective technique to use for treating children’s dental needs. The gas is mild, easily taken and is quickly eliminated from the body. It is non-addictive. While inhaling nitrous oxide/oxygen, your child remains fully conscious and keeps all natural reflexes.
Oral conscious sedation is a management technique that uses medications to assist the child to cope with fear and anxiety and cooperate with dental treatment. Conscious sedation is a good option for children who have a level of anxiety that prevents good coping skills or are very young and do not understand how to cope in a cooperative fashion for the delivery of dental care.
Oral conscious Sedation is recommended for apprehensive children, very young children, and children with special needs. It is used to calm your child and to reduce the anxiety or discomfort associated with dental treatments. Your child may be quite drowsy, and may even fall asleep, but they will not become unconscious.
There are a variety of different medications, which can be used for conscious sedation. The doctor will prescribe the medication best suited for your child’s overall health and dental treatment recommendations. We will be happy to answer any questions you might have concerning the specific drugs we plan to give to your child.
Prior to your appointment:
- Your child should not have solid food for at least 6 hours prior to their sedation appointment and only clear liquids for up to 4 hours before the appointment.
- We recommend that your child have nothing to eat or drink after midnight, the day before the sedation appointment
- Please notify us of any change in your child’s health and/or medical condition.
- Do not bring your child for treatment if he or she has a fever, ear infection, cold, vomiting or diarrhea.
- Should your child become ill, contact us to so we can reschedule your appointment.
- You must tell the doctor of any drugs that your child is currently taking and any drug reactions and/or change in medical history.
- Please dress your child in loose fitting, comfortable clothing.
- Please make sure that your child goes to the bathroom immediately prior to arriving at the office.
- The child’s parent or legal guardian must remain at the office during the complete procedure.
- 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.”
- Your child will act drowsy and may become slightly excited at first.
After the sedation appointment:
- Your child will be drowsy and will need to be monitored very closely.
- Keep your child away from areas of potential harm.
- If your child wants to sleep, place them on their side with their chin up.
- Wake your child every hour and encourage them to have something to drink in order to prevent dehydration.
- 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 vomits, help them bend over and turn their head to the side to insure that they do not inhale the vomit.
- Because we use local anesthetic to numb your child’s mouth during the procedure, your child may have the tendency to bite or chew their lips, cheeks, and/or tongue and/or rub and scratch their face after treatment.
- Please observe your child carefully to prevent any injury to these areas.
- Please call our office for any questions or concerns that you might have.