Should Nitrous Oxide Be Used During Your Child's Dentist Appointment?

Dentist Blog

When your child needs to have dental work done, especially when surgery is involved, it will be very unnerving for everyone. Thankfully, there are sedation dentistry techniques that can help relieve that anxiety and fear your child may be experiencing. One technique is to use nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas. But is it a safe form of sedation dentistry for your child? Here is what you need to know.

What Does Nitrous Oxide Do?

Dentists have been using nitrous oxide for many years. The main thing to know about it is that it is not designed to be used as anesthesia. Your child will still need to have the area of their mouth numbed, which can involve Novocain. At most, they'll feel the prick of the needle, but the nitrous oxide will distract them from it.

The gas itself will cause your child to feel lightheaded, tingling, or warm sensations, as well as the feeling of floating or sleepiness. After a few minutes of being exposed to nitrous oxide, the effects of the gas will kick in, and continue to do so until the gas has been turned off. The effects also wear off pretty quickly, and dentists often reduce how much gas the patient is being exposed to as the procedure is ending, to help them return to normal quickly.

Is Nitrous Oxide Safe?

When used in the right combination of nitrous oxide to oxygen, it has been found to be safely used in children as young as 1 year old. Since it helps the child feel relaxed and reduce fear they are experiencing, it will help the dentist perform the procedure in a safe manner. Without a child that is stressed and fidgeting, a dentist can focus on doing their job rather than dealing with the state-of-mind of the child.

When Should Nitrous Oxide be Used?

Consider using nitrous oxide in situations where your child is having emergency treatment. Nerves will already be high, and it will help the dentist perform the procedure. If your child has a bad gag reflex, nitrous oxide can help a child tolerate the dental equipment that is used on them. In addition, lengthy procedures can benefit from using nitrous oxide, because the child won't be able to perceive the amount of time that is passing.

If you are not sure if nitrous oxide should be used, bring your concern to your dentist at a clinic like Stones River Dental. They can assess the situation with your child in mind and give you a recommendation.


20 October 2016

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