Some children may benefit from using nitrous oxide/oxygen, or what you may know as laughing gas, to stay relaxed during dental care. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is given through a small breathing mask that is placed over your child’s nose. This can help children stay calm and relaxed 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, and then with normal breathing, it is quickly eliminated from the body. It is non-addictive. While inhaling nitrous oxide/oxygen, your child remains conscious and keeps all natural reflexes.
Prior to your appointment:
- Please inform us of any change to your child’s health and/or medical condition.
- Tell us about any respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult for your child. It may limit the effectiveness of the nitrous oxide/oxygen.
- Let us know if your child is taking any medication on the day of the appointment.
Mild to moderate sedation is sometimes recommended for apprehensive children, very young children, and some children with special needs. It is used to help calm your child and to reduce the anxiety some children associate with dental treatment. Sedation is intended to help you child remain calm during dental care, not to make them unconscious.
There are a number of different medications that can be used for mild to moderate sedation. You child’s pediatric dentist will recommend the medication best suited for your child’s overall health and dental treatment needs and will answer all your questions regarding the medication and procedures.
Prior to your appointment:
- Please notify us of any change in your child’s health and/or medical condition. Do not bring your child for treatment with a fever, ear infection or cold. Should your child become ill, contact us to see if it is necessary to postpone the appointment.
- You must tell the doctor of any drugs that your child is currently taking and any drug reactions and/or change in medical history.
- Please dress your child in loose fitting, comfortable clothing.
- Please make sure that your child goes to the bathroom immediately prior to arriving at the office.
- Your child should not have solid food for at least 6 hours prior to their sedation appointment and only clear liquids for up to 4 hours before the appointment.
- The child's parent or legal guardian must remain at the office during the complete procedure.
- Please watch your child closely while the medication is taking effect. Hold them in your lap or keep close to you.
- Your child will act drowsy and may become slightly excited at first.
After the sedation appointment:
- Your child will be drowsy and will need to be monitored for the rest of the day. Keep your child away from areas of potential harm.
- If your child wants to sleep, place them on their side with their chin up. Wake your child every hour and encourage them to have something to drink in order to prevent dehydration. At first it is best to give your child sips of clear liquids to prevent nausea. The first meal should be light and easily digestible.
- Because we use local anesthetic to numb your child’s mouth during the procedure, your child may have the tendency to bite or chew their lips, cheeks, and/or tongue and/or rub and scratch their face after treatment. Please observe your child carefully to prevent any injury to these areas.
- Please call our office for any questions or concerns that you might have.
Tree Town Pediatric Dentistry is proud to be the first pediatric dental practice in our area to offer this important service to our patients. General Anesthesia is recommended for apprehensive children, very young children, and children with special heath care needs for whom sedation is not likely to be effective. General anesthesia renders your child completely asleep so all the dental care can be completed at one visit with your child comfortably asleep during the procedure. Your child is monitored and cared for by an anesthesiologist while we focus on completion of your child’s dental care. Dental care for children under general anesthesia is an “out-patient” procedure, meaning your child arrives for his/her appointment in the morning and is discharged home the same day.
We perform our procedures under general anesthesia at the St. Joseph Mercy Surgery Center, a state-of-the-art outpatient facility in Canton, MI, http://www.stjoeshealth.org/canton. If sedation or general anesthesia is indicated for your child, we will discuss with you all the benefits, risks, and alternatives so you can make best decision that you can for your child.