Sedation Dentistry

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is the use of a mild sedative (calming drugs) to manage special needs or anxiety while a child receives dental care. Sedation also may be used when several procedures need to be done at the same time, or if a child has a strong “gag” reflex.

Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen Inhalation Conscious Sedation

Nitrous Oxide also known as “Laughing Gas or  Happy Air” is a very safe, mild sedative that will helps children remain relaxed during dental procedures. The Inhalation Sedation is administered with the use of a Scented Nasal Mask, which carries oxygen mixed with the sedative (Nitrous Oxide).

The child is made to breathe through the nose, not the mouth, and henceforth senses a faint, sweet smell. The sedation takes effect in about 5 minutes (However, the desired level of sedation required for the dental procedure, may take a few more minutes to be achieved). The mask remains in place until the procedure is completed. The child is awake during the entire procedure and may have a “Happy or Euphoric” feeling.

When the procedure is complete, the nitrous oxide will be turned off and the child is made to breathe in pure oxygen for about 5 minutes to clear out any remaining gas.

Effects of Nitrous Oxide

Patients are encouraged to relax and lie back in the dental chair to start the appointment. The dentist will place a mask over the nose of the patient, and will turn on the gas. Effects of Nitrous Oxide are almost immediate. The child can smell a faint, sweet aroma and experience a sense of well-being and relaxation.

Patients sometimes report feeling “dreamy” and their arms and legs may feel “tingly”.

Nitrous Oxide also raises the pain threshold and may even make the time appear to pass quickly.  If a child is usually anxious by the sights, sounds or sensations of dental treatment; he may respond more positively with the use of nitrous oxide/oxygen sedation.

The effects of Nitrous Oxide wear off very quickly, typically within minutes after the flow of gas has stopped. Children are observed for a brief period of time, and are able to get back to their normal routine right away.

Q: How safe is Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen Inhalation Sedation?

It is indeed Very safe. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry. It is well tolerated. It has a rapid onset, and a rapid offset. It can be adjusted in various concentrations and is non-allergenic. Your child remains fully conscious and keeps all natural reflexes when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen. He/she will be capable of responding to a question or request. Nitrous oxide/oxygen may also be used in combination with other sedative agents.