The pediatric dental office is designed for children to be in a calm and comfortable atmosphere. Pediatric dentists and their staff have additional training in caring for infants, children and adolescents.
Sometimes, however, a child may be anxious before or during treatment. Some children are given nitrous oxide to reduce anxiety during dental treatment. The nitrous oxide is given though a small breathing mask which is placed over the child’s nose, enabling them to relax, but without putting them to sleep. Your child will smell a sweet aroma and experience a feeling of well-being and relaxation. Since nitrous oxide can sometimes produce a feeling of giddiness, it is often called “laughing gas.” It has the effect of raising the pain threshold and helping antsy children sit still for treatment.
As soon as the mask is removed, the effects of the gas wear off within 5 minutes. Although nitrous oxide is extremely helpful for many patients, insurance benefits vary. Since local anesthetic will be used as well for treating cavities, your child will have a numb lip or gum for approximately 2 hours. During this period, your child may need to be monitored carefully to avoid unintentional lip biting.