“Giggle gas,” or nitrous oxide, is very effective in helping children relax, and can even aid in calming a hypersensitive gag reflex. 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 and easily taken. With normal breathing, it is quickly eliminated from the body. While inhaling nitrous oxide/oxygen, your child remains fully conscious.
Sometimes, there’s no way to sugarcoat things when there is a true dental anxiety, and for children, dental work can be especially difficult to comprehend. That is why we offer a variety of options to help things not be too overwhelming for a child, especially one who needs extensive dental work. Nitrous oxide is not adequate because a child may find it hard to breathe through their nose while their mouth is wide open for the dental work. So we also offer an oral medication for your child to drink that is very mild, does not put your child to sleep, and has a proven track record of safety. Your child remains fully conscious with this procedure. It simply “takes the edge off” and helps a child relax while getting dental treatment. Many of our parents have been very happy with this route, and tell us “I wish we had these options when I was young!”
Outpatient General Anesthesia
In rarer cases where extreme anxiety, special health care needs, or very young age make conscious sedation impossible, full sedation under anesthesia, with certified medical anesthesia specialists, is also a service we provide.
All of these options are recommendations we make with full parental involvement, medical monitoring, and informed consent. We always want to do what’s best for your child but within your comfort level.