Nitrous Oxide

How Nitrous Oxide Can Help Your Child

For the mildly anxious dental patients, nitrous oxide is a safe, effective technique to calm a child's fear of the dental visit. The dentists at Dr. Pettinato's Children's Dentistry understand the worries of their patients.  To help relieve mild dental anxiety and help our patients feel more relaxed in the dental chair we offer mild sedation with nitrous oxide.

Nitrous Oxide Q & A

What’s nitrous oxide?
Nitrous oxide is a mild, breathable gas sedative that’s administered through a small mask over your child’s nose. Also known as laughing gas, this safe, soothing medicine induces a sense of calm almost as soon as your child inhales it.

When mixed with oxygen, nitrous oxide has a faintly sweet aroma that can help your child relax and feel calm in the dental chair. If your child is anxious or fearful about receiving dental care, nitrous oxide can mean the difference between a nerve-racking procedure or a relaxed, calm experience.

Nitrous oxide can also be helpful for kids and teens who have a strong gag reflex that may interfere with dental treatment.

Is nitrous oxide safe for children?
Nitrous oxide is safe for patients of all ages, including children. In fact, it’s one of the safest sedatives used in modern dentistry, and the preferred method of sedation for anxious children.

Besides being mild and well-tolerated by the majority of children, the medicine is fast-acting, non-allergenic, and easy to reverse. And even though it can be very relaxing, nitrous oxide won’t make your child fall asleep—they’ll maintain control of their reflexes and be able to communicate normally throughout their treatment.

The team at Pettinato Children’s Dentistry controls the concentration levels of gas throughout the procedure to ensure your child receives the correct amount for their size and age.

What patients would not benefit from nitrous oxide sedation?

Nitrous oxide is not effective for some children, especially those who have severe anxiety, nasal congestion, extensive treatment needs or discomfort wearing a nasal mask or a strong gag reflex.

How do I prepare my child for nitrous oxide?

A stuffy nose or upper respiratory illness can limit the effectiveness of nitrous oxide, so it’s best not to schedule an appointment that requires this type of sedation when your child has a cold or is affected by seasonal allergies.

Your child shouldn’t eat for at least two hours before their appointment, as breathing nitrous oxide on a full stomach makes some kids feel nauseous. The team at Pettinato Children’s Dentistry will give you complete pre-sedation instructions ahead of your child’s scheduled visit.

How quickly does nitrous oxide wear off?
Nitrous oxide wears off very quickly, typically within minutes after the flow of gas has stopped. Having your child take a few breaths of oxygen through the mask helps flush the sedative from your child’s system even faster.

To find out how nitrous oxide can help your anxious child, call Pettinato Children’s Dentistry or book an appointment online today.

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