Laughing gas helps children who are extremely fearful of the dentist feel more relaxed for their dental treatments. Laughing gas is 100 percent safe for your child. We allow all parents of patients at Bay Area Kids Dentist the opportunity to choose this method of relaxation. Our staff trusts that you know your child best and can evaluate whether laughing gas is appropriate for his or her appointment. While most children do fine with routine cleanings and exams, it may be something to consider for dental surgery or other more involved procedures.
Before starting the main dental procedure, your child’s dentist places a mask over the nose that contains laughing gas. As your child breathes in and out, the laughing gas mixes with oxygen to produce a calming effect. We always explain what the mask does and make it as comfortable as possible for your child to wear.
Although relaxed and a little sleepy, your son or daughter remains awake the entire time. He or she can communicate with our staff and see that you are nearby for reassurance. When the procedure is complete, our staff turns off the gas while continuing to deliver oxygen for a few minutes. This ensures that all of the gas flushes out of the system.
Besides helping your child to relax, laughing gas prevents an automatic gag reflex that may make it difficult for your child’s dentist to complete the procedure. The entire process of receiving it takes just three to five minutes. Due to a slightly altered consciousness, using laughing gas makes it appear that time moves quicker than it does in reality. Your child may report feeling a tingling sensation or being in a dream-like state. He or she may also get a case of giggles, which is why some people call this laughing gas.
Occasionally, a patient of Bay Area Kids Dentist may not be able to receive laughing gas. The most common reasons include severe anxiety, nasal congestion, or a strong aversion to wearing a mask. We are happy to discuss other alternatives with you if it appears that the typical method of sedation will not work for your child.
Every one of our dentists has earned certification from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. That means they have met rigorous standards for excellent oral health care for infants, children, adolescents, and pediatric patients with special needs. Whether your child needs a procedure with laughing gas or not, we encourage you to choose a Board Certified pediatric dentist who will work hard to gain his or her trust.
Despite using laughing gas, many children may find it difficult to tolerate any dental procedures. In addition, extensive work requires children to remain calm and still for impossibly long amounts of time. In these situations, the dentist may recommend inhalation anesthesia to:
protect the developing psyche of the child
eliminate all fears
ensure anxious children will cooperate, allowing the dentist to complete dental care safely and efficiently
Deep sedation in healthy patients is safe when performed by a physician who is an experienced and board-certified anesthesiologist. Our anesthesiologist specializes in the care of babies and small children, using state-of-the-art monitoring to ensure your child is asleep, comfortable, and safe during the whole procedure. We provide anesthesia using the highest quality equipment in a precise, safe manner.
At the time of the dental appointment, the parent usually walks the child to the procedure area. The child sits in the parent’s lap and goes to sleep by taking a few breaths of a bubble gum flavored gas while the anesthesiologist tells a simple story. After the parent returns to the waiting area, the anesthesiologist painlessly starts a child-sized intravenous line, attaches the monitoring equipment, and deepens the anesthetic to the required level.
At the end of the procedure, the dentist will meet you in the waiting area and discuss what was done. The anesthesiologist will continue monitoring your child, and reunite the two of you as soon as he or she begins to wake up. Although your child may be irritable for a little while, there are no long-term side effects.