If your child has dental anxiety, you may want to consider the benefits of dental nitrous oxide (also called laughing gas). During the procedure, your child will be asked to breathe in nitrous oxide mixed with oxygen through a mask. The mask is gently placed over their nose and isn’t removed until after the procedure. Not only is nitrous oxide safe, but it is also quick to act and quick to wear off.
Since nitrous oxide is simple for a dentist to administer, it can be used for a range of procedures from teeth cleanings to filling cavities. Keep in mind that certain procedures will require local anesthesia in addition to nitrous oxide to manage pain. Nitrous oxide can help ease dental fear and anxiety so your child can get the dental care they need to maintain a healthy smile.
Awake and Responsive
Nitrous oxide will not put your child to sleep. Instead, the laughing gas helps them feel more relaxed in the dentist’s chair. Laughing gas gets its name because one of the side effects of dental nitrous oxide is feeling giddy. While your child may giggle a little during the procedure, they will still be able to cooperate if the dentist needs them to tilt their head in a certain way or open their mouth wider to access teeth.
If your child’s dental fear stems from a fear of losing control or feeling helpless, you may want to ask your child’s sedation dentist whether nitrous oxide would be a good solution. While nitrous oxide helps your child relax, they will still be awake and aware during the procedure.
Wears Off Fast
Nitrous oxide starts to wear off as soon as the mask is removed from your child’s face. This means that your child won’t have to recover after being sedated with nitrous oxide. With other types of sedation dentistry, such as oral sedation, you would have to keep your child home from school and closely monitor them for the rest of the day.
When children are given nitrous oxide, they are able to return to school after their appointment. Nitrous oxide wears off so fast that when adults are given nitrous oxide, they are able to drive themselves home.
No Side Effects
There are no side effects of nitrous oxide, which makes it safe for both children and adults. Your dentist will have the necessary training and experience to safely administer nitrous oxide so your child feels relaxed, but not overmedicated.
While breathing in laughing gas, your child may feel a tingling sensation in their arms and legs or feel light-headed. Alternatively, your child may feel their arms and legs getting heavier as they breathe in the laughing gas. Overall, your child should feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed.
The Grandville pediatric dentists at Sarah Palmer DDS are dedicated to helping your child overcome dental fear so they can feel comfortable and confident in the dentist’s chair. If you are interested in scheduling a dental exam or professional teeth cleaning for your child, give us a call at (616) 534-0080.