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Silly Sedation

By Jill Hamilton on July 12, 2012 in Dental Health


Dental fear is a side effect of one of the most common misconceptions of dentist visits: that it hurts. Often times, adults, as well as children can have pre-meditated fear about their bi-annual visit to the dentist that is unwarranted. With modern technology and evolving dental techniques, visits to the dentist have become virtually pain-free.

There are ways to battle back against this fear and allow your child to relax while in the chair. Now, there is a lot of information out there about sedation, but the kind we will be discussing today is a conscious sedative: Nitrous Oxide.

The name of this conscious sedation gas sounds more intimidating than it really is. Nitrous Oxide is actually very safe for use in pediatric dentistry. Laughing gas (as Nitrous Oxide is commonly called) is administered using a mask. The mask is placed over the face and inhaled until the body feels relaxed and sleepy.

Often, when people think of sedation, YouTube videos like David After the Dentist comes to mind. If you have never seen the video, I suggest you take a look. It's quite cute. The sedation used in those videos however, is a type intended for more serious procedures than a simple cleaning or cavity fill.

Laughing gas is used in pediatric dentistry when a child feels overly anxious about a procedure, when the child has a very sensitive gag reflex, or to reduce the pain associated with a complex procedure. Many parents feel anxiety about this type of sedation but it is so safe, pregnant women could also be candidates.

Listed below are 4 types of patients who should AVOID Nitrous Oxide:

1) Persons with phobias or disabilities that prevent them from breathing through a mask.

2) Persons who have some psychiatric conditions, including schizophrenia.

3) Persons who are sensitive to nitrous oxide.

4) Persons who suffer from emphysema or another lung condition.

All in all, conscious sedation is a safe method of relaxing your child in the dentist's office.

Do you have a funny “David After the Dentist”-like story? Tell us about it in the comments!