Children's Dentistry and Sedation
What is inhalation sedation?
Inhalation sedation involves your child breathing a mixture of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oxygen. This is done through a rubber mask that fits comfortably over their nose and allows any dental work to be carried outat the same time. During this time your child will still be aware of the
surroundings and the dental treatment but will feel more relaxed.
Who can benefit from inhalation sedation?
Children who require dental treatment may benefit from inhalation sedation if they:
· are moderately anxious or fearful
· require dental extractions that might cause increased anxiety
· have a gag reflex that interferes with dental care.
Which children can have inhalation sedation?
This is a safe process that can be used on most children. When your child first attends the dental department we will assess whether they are suitable for inhalation sedation.
Are there any risks with inhalation sedation?
Your child may not be completely sedated if they are not breathing through their nose for any reason, for example, if they have a cold.
Your child may feel sick or vomit. Do not give your child a heavy meal immediately before their appointment. However a light meal or snack should be eaten two hours before the appointment.
Don’t let your child wear contact lenses for the appointment. Their eyes may feel dry and sore if the rubber mask on the nose is not fitting well.
Rarely, inhalation sedation can have an effect on hearing and cause vertigo (dizziness). But these are seen only with prolonged exposure
and are uncommon.
Are there any special precautions before treatment?
A light meal or snack should be eaten two hours before treatment. The child undergoing treatment must attend with a parent or guardian who will be asked to sign a consent form at the start of treatment. Ideally it is best to avoid bringing other children as they can cause distraction to an already nervous child.
What will happen at my child's first inhalation sedation appointment?
At your child’s first appointment the dentist will need to check and discuss the proposed treatment and gain your consent for the course of treatment. Your child will be shown the “happy air” equipment and be invited to try it. Dental treatment is not usually started on the initial visit.
Does the tooth still need ‘numbing’ for treatment?
Yes it does. This is to make the treatment as comfortable and as acceptable as possible. Hopefully, over time as your child becomes more familiar with the treatment they will be able to accept local anaesthetic and
treatment without inhalation sedation.