Nitrous oxide, sometimes referred to as “laughing gas,” is an effective and safe sedation agent that is inhaled through a mask that fits over your child’s nose to help them relax. Mixed with oxygen, nitrous oxide allows your child to breathe normally through their nose, and within minutes they should start to feel the effects. Your child may feel light-headed or a tingling in their arms and legs. Some patients comment that their legs and arms feel heavy. Ultimately, your child should feel comfortable and calm. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off quickly after the small mask is removed. Talk to the doctor about whether nitrous oxide would be a good option for your child.
IV sedation/general anesthesia, uses medications to allow the patient to go to sleep while receiving dental treatment. Surgical patients or patients with high levels of anxiety or special needs may benefit from IV sedation/general anesthesia. Your child’s doctor can discuss the benefits of general anesthesia and help parents determine if it is the best choice for their child.