As a responsible, loving parent, you worry about your child’s safety. You do your best to keep them out of harm’s way whenever possible and are cautious about what goes into their body. When your child experiences dental anxiety, you naturally hesitate to turn to dental sedation like nitrous oxide because you wonder whether it’s safe for their little body.
Talking to your family dentist about your concerns can answer many of the questions you may have, such as the following.
What Is Nitrous Oxide?
You may have heard the term “laughing gas” used before; this is another name for nitrous oxide. Although this odorless gas usually does not make the patient laugh, it does leave them feeling much more relaxed, lighter, and even happier!
Does Nitrous Oxide Have Side Effects?
Surprisingly, nitrous oxide typically does not come with any side effects. In extremely rare situations, other symptoms like dizziness or nausea may happen, but overall, children as well as adults usually react positively to nitrous oxide sedation.
What Does Nitrous Oxide Do?
To administer nitrous oxide to an adult or child, the dentist places a nasal mask on, which delivers a mixture of air and gas simultaneously. As the patient inhales as usual, the gas quickly enters their system, taking effect within minutes. They do not fall asleep—they stay conscious and able to respond to what’s going on around them, but they are simply more at ease.
As the dentist works, they may increase or decrease the concentration of nitrous oxide, depending on how it’s affecting the patient. If the child requires more help with their anxiety, more of the gas can be given. On the other hand, if they are comfortable at a lower dosage, less is necessary.
How Long Do the Effects of Nitrous Oxide Last?
When the nasal mask is removed from the patient’s face, they quickly return to normal. In fact, the effects wear off as fast as they kicked in. Within minutes, your child should be back to their usual selves and be able to resume normal activities.
Is There Safe Dental Sedation for Older Kids or for More Serious Dental Anxiety?
If your child is a teenager or suffers from severe anxiety, perhaps more powerful sedation is the better option. Your dentist will make sure to get a full medical history for your child to make sure it is safe for them to take the stronger medication. In the case of oral conscious sedation, your child will take a pill in advance and need several hours to recover after the appointment ends. IV sedation also comes with longer-lasting effects than those of nitrous oxide, but it too is more powerful and requires careful screening before a child can receive it.
In the end, deciding whether sedation is right for your child is a conversation you need to have with your dentist. They can put your fears to rest and help you find a solution that will safely help your child feel more relaxed and less stressed about their oral care, helping them learn healthy habits and leading to a lifetime of smiles.
About the Practice
In Lincoln, Pioneer Greens Dentistry is proud to serve patients of all ages. In fact, Dr. Justin Shirk, joined by Dr. Chris and Dr. Claire Haag, makes every effort to create comfortable, beneficial experiences for children as well as adults. In the office, we offer nitrous oxide, oral conscious, and IV sedation to keep patients calm and happy. If you have questions about sedation or think your child may benefit from its use during their next appointment, contact us online or call us at 402-483-7502.