Nitrous Oxide Sedation
At Sporting Smiles, we offer sedation with nitrous oxide, a safe sedation option often referred to as "laughing gas" or "happy air." The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry supports and endorses the use of nitrous oxide in children.
Nitrous oxide is not intended to put your child to sleep and, despite it's familiar name, won't make your child laugh uncontrollably either. It is a sweet-smelling, colorless gas used to ease pain and anxiety.
Why Nitrous Oxide?
At Sporting Smiles, we might recommend nitrous oxide for patients who have:
- Fear or anxiety
- Special health care needs
- A gag reflex that interferes with dental care
- Difficulty with extensive local anesthesia
- Treatment needs that will take a long time
Before the Appointment
Please inform us of any change to your child’s health or medical history. This includes any allergies, illnesses, or medications.
Please ensure that your child arrives to their appointment on an empty stomach. We recommend avoiding any food or drink for three hours prior to the appointment time—this is for your child’s safety and to ensure that an upset stomach will not occur.
Certain respiratory conditions that make it difficult for your child to breath through the nose can limit the effectiveness of nitrous oxide. If your child has allergies, frequent sinus infections, or a deviated septum, please let us know.
During the Appointment
Nitrous oxide allows your child to remain awake. He or she will breath, speak, and interact with others normally. Your child will also be able to hear and respond to any requests or directions the dentist may have.
After the Appointment
After treatment is completed, we'll turn switch the nitrous oxide off and start sending pure oxygen into the mask for your child to breathe for about five minutes. In most cases, children feel completely normal again after ten minutes or so.
Balance and coordination can be affected for a short period of time (this may also be related to laying down for the procedure), so we recommend avoiding sporting activities and strenuous play for the rest of the day.
Key Points to Remember
If you have any questions about nitrous oxide, please be sure to ask us about them before you give your consent. The doctors at Sporting Smiles are very accessible and will happily spend the time addressing your concerns and answering any questions you may have.
Before the procedure, we'll discuss with you the reasons why your child could benefit from nitrous oxide, as well as the possible risks. While most patients do not experience any negative side effects from nitrous oxide, a small number of patients do. Although rare, negative side effects may include nausea or vomiting, headache, increased sleepiness, and light-headedness.
If you think of any questions at any time, whether before, during, or after the procedure, don't hesitate to ask!
Nitrous oxide does not work for everyone. In cases where children are unable to accept treatment, alternative sedation methods are a possibility.