Although nitrous oxide is commonly called “laughing gas,” it does not make your child laugh. It is a very safe drug with children. It is a very good analgesic (pain reliever) and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) agent and has the added benefit of being administered with 50% oxygen.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends this safe and effective technique to reduce anxiety and enhance effective communication with anxious children about to undergo dental treatment. The purpose of nitrous oxide sedation is to reduce anxiety, enhance communication, increase the pain threshold, increase tolerance for longer procedures, promote amnesia and to inhibit the gag reflex.
Nitrous oxide is generally indicated for nervous, fearful children and those undergoing restorative procedures where local anesthesia is required. Nitrous oxide has many desirable properties: it has a rapid onset of action, the depth of sedation is easily adjusted specifically to your child’s needs, and it has a rapid and complete recovery (approximately three minutes).
The most common side effect with nitrous oxide is nausea and vomiting. Contraindications with children are few.
At All Kids Dental, the vast majority of children easily tolerate restorative dentistry using local anesthetics with the aid of supplemental nitrous oxide administration. However, an in-office sedation approach is sometimes helpful in accomplishing care with very young children or those children with substantial dental need.
The doctors at All Kids Dental are pediatric dental specialists who are hospital trained in providing this appealing alternative. We are not only licensed by the State of Colorado but also have a specialized sedation permit that is required to offer this approach.
The sedation permit requires specialty certification and ongoing continuing education, as well as an office inspection by a State of Colorado-qualified professional. We follow guidelines established by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. These are guidelines that are shared with the American Academy of Pediatrics and ensure against adverse events.
All Kids Dental has been a Colorado entity for nearly 20 years, and during that time, no patient undergoing an in-office sedation has ever had a negative event.
The goal of an in-office sedation approach is to accomplish necessary dental treatment as safely and gracefully as possible by utilizing a medication that minimizes the potential for negative memories toward future dentistry. Our office employs two sedation protocols that are proven safe and effective.
One entails a Valium-based drug called Versed®, used in combination with Benadryl® and Advil® to create a minimal to moderate state of sedation. The second protocol, for older children, includes Traizolam, Valium, or Ambien in a sedative combination cocktail to create a moderate state of sedation.
These medications have a rapid onset and you will quickly see the sedative effects. During the procedure, nitrous oxide and oxygen will be used to enhance the sedative and amnestic properties of medications while also supplying supplemental oxygen.
Your child will not be unconscious and may occasionally cry during the procedure. This does not mean he or she is in pain, because the teeth will be completely anesthetized with Lidocaine®. The doctor and two assistants will be taking care of your child, who will be continuously monitored with pulse oximetry, capnography and other monitoring devices. The doctor will give your child an occasional break during the procedure.
When the treatment is complete, parents are reunited with the patient for the recovery and observation period. During this time, post-operative instructions are reviewed and questions answered. The family is allowed to leave when standard discharge criteria are met.
In-Office General Anesthesia
Some children have dental needs or anxiety that are beyond what can be accomplished through oral sedation. In these cases, it is often necessary to put the child to sleep under general anesthesia.
This is a great option for the young child with extensive dental needs because he or she is fully asleep for the entire procedure. At All Kids Dental, we have partnered with a team of highly trained dental anesthesiologists to provide in-office general anesthesia. All of the same safety, training and emergency precautions are in place that are in the hospital, but it can be done at the dental office for a fraction of the cost and time.
When a child is put to sleep in our office, the parents are present as their son or daughter falls asleep, and they are reunited before the child wakes up. It is a wonderful way to accomplish significant dental treatment needs safely, efficiently, and effectively while the ensuring the patient has a positive dental experience.
Hospital-based care is available under general anesthesia at the Children’s Hospital for children with complex medical histories.
If general anesthesia is right for your child, we will walk you through all the details and answer your questions at your initial exam visit.
If you have any concerns or questions, please call 303.670.KIDS (5437).