Nothing makes me happier than to tell a patient of mine that they are in this months “No Cavity Club!” They are either getting great guidance at home, eating a healthy, low-sugar diet, listening to the education I provide, or hopefully, all of the above!
However, there are times that cavities or other dental issues arise and need to be treated. Most children are comfortable and calm in the office during procedures. Children’s offices are designed to make them feel that way – bright colors, toys, their favorite music or movie for entertainment.
We chose to work specifically with children and want to cater to their special needs.
Most of the time it is the unknown that makes them anxious. We have all been there, right? When you know something is coming but it is uncharted territory, you are more alert to the possibilities. And boy do kids have amazing imaginations!
Because of that we always try to explain every step of the procedure, using special non threatening words, so they know what to expect.
When the anxiety could prevent adequate treatment, Nitrous oxide/oxygen (N2O) can be used to help relax the child and ease their anxieties or fears. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is also a great option for children that have a severe gag reflex that interferes with treatment.
What is Nitrous oxide/oxygen?
Nitrous oxide/oxygen, also known as “laughing gas”, is a blend of oxygen and nitrous oxide that is used as a safe sedative. A mask is placed over the nose for the child to inhale the gentle gases by breathing normally. It is used for the duration of the treatment and then eliminated after a short period of breathing oxygen. There are no lingering effect of this treatment and children are able to go to school after.
What does Nitrous oxide/oxygen feel like?
It has a faint, sweet aroma. It gives a sense of relaxation and well-being. Our bodies have a threshold of pain that they can tolerate and nitrous oxide/oxygen raises this threshold. Many people know this mixture of gases as “laughing gas” due to it sometimes causing giddiness. At the end of the procedure, when the oxygen is being breathed in and removing the effects of the nitrous oxide, these sensations dissipate and the child will being to feel “normal” again.
Is it safe?
Our goal while treating your children is to give them the best treatment we can. That includes keeping them safe, comfortable, and happy. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is very safe. It is perhaps the safest form of sedation in dentistry.
- Children tolerate it well.
- It takes just minutes to become effective.
- Completely reversible.
- Child remains fully conscious and is able to respond to questions or requests.
If your office recommends Nitrous oxide/oxygen for your child’s dental treatment there are a few things to keep in mind. Give them only a light meal in the hours leading up to an appointment. Sometimes children can feel nauseous or experience vomiting if they have a full stomach. Also, make sure that their medical history is up-to-date and you have disclosed any respiratory conditions or anything else that could make nasal breathing difficult. This could limit the effectiveness of nitrous oxide/oxygen. Keeping their medical history up-to-date includes letting the dentist know if there are any new medications or any medications that were taken the day of treatment.
At Rose Tree Kids we always provide one-on-one treatment that is specially designed for your child’s needs. Every service should be fitting to your child as an individual. Always speak with the dentist/hygienist about your child’s special needs so we can treat them to the best of our ability. This includes Nitrous oxide/oxygen. There may be times when it isn’t the best option for your child. Their dentist will review the medical history, their level of anxiety, and any other issues to determine if this is the best treatment for them.
Parents usually have a lot of questions regarding N2O. Let us know if you have them. Leave a comment or give us a call. Ask away!