Patients, big and small, can be slightly nervous for dental treatment, despite previous positive experiences at routine dental check-ups or even a positive treatment appointment. Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas” or what Dr. Espinosa likes to call “happy air”, is a great option to help them relax and feel comfortable. It is the most mild form of sedation in which the child is conscious and able to interact during the treatment. The patient will breathe the nitrous oxide/oxygen combination through a nose mask throughout the dental treatment appointment. The nitrous oxide effects of relaxing mental anxiety, relaxing muscle tension, and increasing threshold for discomfort comes on quickly with the full cooperation of the patient.
A stuffy nose, mouth breathers, and active crying will interfere with the effectiveness of the nitrous oxide and will not be recommended at that time. Just as quickly as the onset of nitrous oxide takes effect, it is quickly eliminated from the body through normal breathing of 100% oxygen. This allows the patient to return to school or other daily activities after their visit. Nitrous oxide is non addictive, will not put your child to sleep, and has analgesic properties making injections less painful. Not only is it recognized by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry as safe and effective, it is widely used in the pediatric dental community to aid in positive experiences during dental procedures for children. In addition, Dr. Espinosa may recommend Nitrous oxide for routine dental check-ups and x-rays for patients no matter what age that experience severe gag reflex.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral conscious sedation is a process in which Dr. Espinosa will administer one or a mixture of several drugs orally and in the office to sedate a child for dental treatment. This type of sedation is usually used on apprehensive patients, younger children, or special needs patients who are not able to cooperate with nitrous oxide alone. This form of sedation can make the child drowsy and they may even fall asleep during treatment, but they are not unconscious. Unlike nitrous oxide, the patient will need a relaxing day at home with an adult after their sedation for full recovery.
I.V. Sedation is recommended for pre-cooperative children with SECC, Severe Early Childhood Caries, highly anxious or uncooperative patients, and patients with mental or physical disabilities. This process involves a Dental Anesthesiologist who will sedate the child into a deep sleep and monitor the patient while Dr. Espinosa completes all necessary treatment in one visit. The great thing about this option is the patient will not remember any part of the procedures and Dr. Espinosa can continue to work with that patient on happy check-up visits to encourage a positive dental experience thereafter.