Nitrous oxide, otherwise known as "laughing gas," has been used by dentists and medical professionals for years. Most children and adults are receptive to nitrous oxide, often given to children before and during a medical or dental procedure to ensure they're calm.
The experienced pediatric dentists at My Kidz Dental offer information about how and why nitrous oxide is given to children during various dental procedures. Here’s everything parents need to know about how nitrous oxide affects children at the dentist.
What happens before the procedure?
Before our dentists administer nitrous oxide to your child, you'll need to consent. This is because some risks are associated with giving children nitrous oxide, and you need to understand what these are before giving your child the gas.
Specifically, your child's oxygen levels may drop, so they'd need an oxygen mask briefly. They could also vomit, though this is rare. But if vomit were to get in their lungs, the proper medical professional must address this immediately.
A child should fast at least two hours before the procedure to help prevent vomiting.
What happens during the procedure?
Your child will receive nitrous oxide via a tube in their nose; nothing will be covering their mouth. It should make them feel sleepy and relaxed, but they'll be awake and somewhat aware of what's happening. It'll also make them feel warm and like they're floating, and they may not remember the procedure because this is one of the side effects of the gas.
In short, they won't feel anxious, so it'll be easier for the dentist to do their work well.
While the dentist is performing the procedure, an assisting staff member will monitor your child to ensure they remain cooperative and responsive to verbal instructions. Your child may also get anesthesia with the laughing gas, so they don't feel pain during the procedure.
What happens after the procedure?
When the procedure is over, your child will stop getting the laughing gas and come to their senses rather quickly. They may have a headache or feel nauseous afterward. It's best to give them some water if these side effects manifest. If they don't want water, give them diluted fruit juice, a popsicle, gelatin, or clear soup, so they stay hydrated.
And if your child was given anesthesia during the procedure, make it clear to them that they need to avoid biting their lips, cheeks, and tongue.
Visit any of our My Kidz Dentist offices in Phoenix, Arizona if you want nitrous oxide-assisted dental care for your child. You can conveniently book an appointment using our online booking tool.