Children who are very young or who have a high level of anxiety that interferes with the cooperation necessary for the dentist to perform treatment may require some level of sedation. Sedation is also helpful for special needs children.
Many children benefit from nitrous oxide/oxygen as it makes them feel more relaxed during their dental treatment. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognizes the inhalation method of nitrous oxide/oxygen as very safe and effective technique to reduce anxiety and enhance communication between a patient and the doctor.
A combination of nitrous gas and oxygen are inhaled through a mask prior to dental treatment. During treatment, the inhalation of nitrous allows a patient to feel relaxed. After treatment, 100% oxygen is given to the patient and nitrous oxide is quickly eliminated from the body by breathing normally. Nitrous is non-addictive and a patient remains fully conscious throughout the procedure.
Other sedation techniques including conscious sedation and general anesthesia are options that can be discussed with the doctor during your child’s visit.