Nitrous Oxide is commonly called laughing gas and is often recommended for children that need to undergo a dental procedure that may be uncomfortable or cause fear or anxiety. The purpose of Nitrous Oxide is to make it more comfortable for your child to receive the necessary dental care with less pain and/or anxiety. Nitrous oxide is classified as an analgesic because it reduces pain and for many procedures makes local anesthesia unnecessary. It is also an anxiolytic, which means your child will be in a pharmacologically induced state of consciousness where he/she is awake but has decreased anxiety to facilitate coping skills, retaining interactive ability. Nitrous Oxide helps to ease patient’s fears so as to help them relax during their visit, and to receive dental treatment in a comfortable and safe manner. It is typically delivered through a mask over the nose; nitrous oxide is mixed directly with oxygen and delivered as the patient breathes in and out regularly. The patient is usually asked to breathe normally through the nose, and as the gas begins to take effect, the child will become more relaxed and less nervous. It raises the pain threshold and may even make the time appear to pass quickly. Some normal sensations that a patient may feel may include tingling in the fingers, toes, cheeks, lips, tongue, head or cheek area; heaviness in the thighs and/or legs, followed by a lighter floating feeling; resonation in the voice; warm feeling throughout body, flushed cheeks; fits of uncontrollable laughter or giddiness; a lightweight or floating sensation with an accompanying “out of body” sensation; sluggishness in motion and slurring and/or repetition of words. Rarely a child may feel dizzy or nauseous. We do ask you not to give your child any food or drinks for two hours prior to any procedure scheduled requiring the use of laughing gas. Laughing gas enhances communication between your child and their doctor during dental procedures. Additionally, it reduces the gag reflex, which can interfere with effective dental treatment. All of these sensations and reactions are temporary and go away after 100% oxygen is delivered at the end of the procedure.
Nitrous Oxide is 100% safe to use during treatment and is eliminated from the body quickly after the gas is turned off. The child will remain awake during the entire procedure and will be able to interact and communicate with the pediatric dentist. After the procedure(s) are over, the nitrous oxide gas will be turned off and your child will be given oxygen for 3 to 5 minutes, which flushes the laughing gas and its effects out of your child’s system. There are no lingering effects.
Nitrous Oxide is perhaps the safest relaxant used in dentistry. It is well tolerated, having a rapid onset, and is reversible, can be adjusted in various concentrations and is non-allergenic. Absolutely no one is allergic to oxygen or Nitrogen, which are the only two ingredients in Nitrous Oxide. Your child remains fully conscious and maintains all natural reflexes when breathing the gases. He or she will be capable of responding to a question or request. You should inform our office regarding any respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult for your child. In a very small percentage of children Nitrous Oxide may not be effective, especially those children who have severe anxiety, nasal congestion or discomfort wearing a nasal mask. Dr. Marcie will review your child’s medical history, level of anxiety, and treatment needs and inform you if nitrous oxide is recommended for your child.
Our goal is to treat every child in the safest, least invasive manner possible. Our decision to sedate or not sedate a child is made solely with the best interest of the child in mind. Please keep in mind that Dr. Marcie does not choose a treatment modality based on what is most convenient for her or the parents/guardians. Our goal is to facilitate a pleasant experience that does not cause your child a lifetime of fearful dental experiences.
IV sedation allows Dr. Marcie to provide the highest quality, comprehensive, and pain-free treatment in the most efficient manner available to your child. The treatment is completed efficiently and in one treatment session rather than multiple sessions. Children report no memory of receiving their dental or surgical care. While no doctor is able to offer risk-free sedation, we do everything in our power to ensure the safest possible environment for your child’s dental treatment. Our mission is to provide your child anesthesia services with the highest standard of patient care and safety, while in the comfort, convenience and familiar surroundings of our pleasant and child-friendly dental office.
Please keep in mind that if Dr. Marcie recommends sedation for your child’s dental treatment, it is only because she feels strongly that the risks of performing dentistry while your child is awake would outweigh the inherent risks of sedation.
Dr. Gershon Fink, a pediatric anesthesiologist, and his team have worked in the pediatric dental field for many years. He brings years of experience and a truly compassionate demeanor, as well as a proven track record of safety and success. This allows us to complete all treatment in one appointment, and helps the patient grow up without the fear and anxiety felt by many people when anticipating a trip to the dentist.
Patients with complex medical issues that cannot be safely completed in the dental office setting can be treated at St. Mary’s Hospital. Dr. Marcie has been on staff at St. Mary’s Hospital for 8 years.