Sedation Options for Dentistry

Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)

Routine use of nitrous oxide sedation (laughing gas) makes our younger patients more comfortable.  Nitrous Oxide is a safe, sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which you can breathe. It has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. The patient receives 50-70% oxygen with no less than 30% nitrous oxide. The patient is able to breathe on their own and remain in control of all bodily functions. The patient may experience mild amnesia and may fall asleep, not remembering all of what happened during their appointment.

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There are many advantages to using Nitrous Oxide

  • The depth of concious sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation.
  • There is no after effect such as a “hangover”.
  • Inhalation sedation is safe with no side effects on your heart and lungs, etc.
  • Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging.
  • It works rapidly as it reaches the brain within 20 seconds. In as little as 2-3 minutes, its relaxation and pain killing properties develop.

Reasons to not use Nitrous Oxide

You should not utilize Nitrous Oxide if you have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Though there are no other major contraindications to using nitrous oxide, you may not want to use it if you have emphysema, exotic chest problems, a cold or other difficulties with breathing. You may want to ask your dentist for a “5 minute trial” to see how you feel with this type of sedation method before proceeding.

General Anesthesia in the Hospital Setting

Pediatric patients requiring oral rehabilitation in a hospital setting will receive general anesthesia in the operating room.  The patient will be completely relaxed and will not feel any pain during the treatment or have any memory of it. Spring Lake Dental Group will determine if this is the best option for dental treatment.  Treatment in the hospital setting allows the highest quality of care in a monitored and controlled environment. An anesthesiologist, will give your child the medications to make him/her comfortable and sedated during the procedure.  The patient’s medical status must be evaluated with his/her general practitioner before receiving oral treatment under general anesthesia in the hospital setting.