As Pediatric Dental specialists we realize that every child is different and we want your child to feel as comfortable as possible coming to the see us. One of our favorite things to hear is when a parent tells us how excited their child was to come to the office. Part of making your child feel comfortable is alleviating any anxiety that they might feel about dental treatment. Our office provides a number of different treatment methods to best meet the needs of your child.
Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) can help alleviate mild dental anxiety
Some children have mild anxiety when they hear that they will be receiving dental treatment. We use child-friendly language and visual demonstrations of procedures to help the child feel like they are in control and to help avoid any fear of the unknown. Additionally, all of our operatories are equipped with flat screen televisions and movies to help the child feel at ease. Even with these measures some children will still feel some mild anxiety. It is in these cases where nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, can help make the appointments more pleasant. Nitrous oxide is an odorless gas that is breathed through the nose during dental treatment. While breathing nitrous oxide the patient is still fully conscious but may feel a deeper sense of calm and relaxation. Nitrous oxide can also help in patients with severe gag reflexes and the gas itself has mild anti pain properties. After the treatment is completed the patient breathes 100% oxygen, which allows them to feel back to normal. Since the effects of nitrous oxide are very short, children can even return to school after their dental treatment.
Oral Conscious Sedation can be utilized for children with moderate dental anxiety
For some patients who are very young, have moderate anxiety, or have had a history of difficult treatment appointments in the past, nitrous oxide alone may not be enough to alleviate their dental anxiety. These patients may benefit from oral conscious sedation. These patients come to their treatment appointments a little early and are given a small dose of anti anxiety medication. When the anti anxiety medication takes affect the patient is still conscious but may feel sleepy. The majority of the effect of the medication is over after an hour, but patients may feel tired throughout the day. Because of this, these patients should not return to school after treatment, but should return home until the medication has been fully metabolized by the body.