Sedation dentistry refers to the use of sedation during dental treatment. Sedation is most commonly used during extensive procedures, for patients with dental phobia or for patients who find it difficult to sit still. There are different types of sedation, the mildest form being the use of nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”). The use of oral sedatives, IV sedation, or general anesthesia are more significant types of sedation. At our office we offer all types of sedation. Nitrous oxide, oral sedatives, IV sedation and general anesthesia. Before using any type of sedative, it is important to tell us about any medications your child is receiving. As well, if your child doesn’t feel well or has a mild cold the day of the procedure, the appointment will be rescheduled.
The use of nitrous oxide can be used to calm a patient who has dental phobia, low pain tolerance, physical handicaps, strong gag reflexes, or needs major dental treatment. Before administering any sedative or anesthetic, we will talk to you about the process of sedation and pre-and post-sedation instructions.
Nitrous oxide is more commonly known as laughing gas, since it may produce a feeling of giddiness. The gas is administered via a fitted mask placed over the nose. The reason why it works best in children four and older is because of the need for cooperation for this.
Nitrous oxide is mixed with oxygen and has a calming effect that helps relax during their dental treatment. Because it is a mild sedative, patients are still conscious and can talk throughout the visit. After treatment, the nitrous is turned off and 100% oxygen is administered to help flush out any remaining gas. The effects wear off almost immediately. Nitrous oxide rarely has side effects, although some patients may experience minor nausea and constipation.