Is Your Child Uncomfortable About Going To The Dentist? Here's How Nitrous Oxide Sedation Can Help

If your child has a fear of going to the dentist, you've probably tried several strategies to help them relax. Bargaining with them, constantly reassuring them, and calmly explaining what will happen during the appointment can all help ease fears about visiting the dentist's office. However, sometimes these approaches alone aren't enough.

When your child has extreme anxiety about dental appointments, you may want to consider nitrous oxide sedation. It's a very safe sedative that can help children relax during dental procedures, allowing them to be completed successfully and helping your child learn that the dentist's office isn't a place that should be feared. To learn more about how nitrous oxide can help your child relax during dental visits, read on to learn more about it and when it can be helpful.

What Does Nitrous Oxide Do?

Nitrous oxide is a gas that's mixed with oxygen and administered during dental procedures in order to relax patients. It's considered one of the safest forms of conscious sedation available, since it has very little effect on breathing, heart rate, or blood pressure, and it's also safe enough to be used on children. Other forms of sedation (such as general anesthesia, where patients are put to sleep) require breathing assistance and close monitoring in order to ensure the patient is safe, making nitrous oxide a good alternative.

After inhaling nitrous oxide, children feel calmer and happier. It's common for their legs and arms to tingle, and their eyes may close slightly. They'll still remain awake during the dental procedure, but they'll feel much more at ease. After the procedure, children are given pure oxygen in order to flush any remaining nitrous oxide out of the lungs, and the effects of the nitrous oxide will diminish rapidly. Other forms of conscious sedation, like oral or intravenous benzodiazepines, can have an effect for hours after the procedure, which can be dangerous if you're not able to constantly monitor your child until the effects have worn off.

When Should You Consider Nitrous Oxide Sedation for Your Child's Dental Procedures?

Using nitrous oxide for sedation is a good option for children who are very uncomfortable with needles or with visiting the dentist. Some dental procedures (like tooth extractions) require local anesthesia that needs to be administered with a needle, and nitrous oxide can help children feel calmer about the injection. Some children are frightened by the sound of dental equipment (such as dental drills), and nitrous oxide can help them cope with the loud noises.

Nitrous oxide is also useful for children undergoing long dental procedures, even if they don't have a fear of visiting the dentist. It can be difficult for children to sit still for such a long period of time, and the nitrous oxide can make the time feel like it's passing by faster. If your family dentist needs to perform multiple dental procedures in one sitting, they may suggest nitrous oxide as a way to help your child make it through the long session.

If you think that your child can benefit from nitrous oxide sedation, find a family dental clinic in your area that provides this service. You shouldn't let your child's fear of visiting the dentist compromise their dental health, because there are numerous solutions such as nitrous oxide sedation that can help them relax in the dentist's office. When combined with a family dentist who is calm and reassuring, nitrous oxide sedation can help your child's dental visits become worry-free.