Laughing Gas in Pediatric Dentistry

Laughing Gas in Pediatric Dentistry
Posted on 06/24/2016

Discussing the Benefits of Using This Type Treatment for Children 

As sad as it pains us to say, going to the dentist and anxiety seem to go hand in hand for some people. Dental schools even teach future dentists about the term "white-knuckled" (patients who are so terrified that they grab the handles on the dental chair so firmly their knuckles turn white!

Laughing gas, in particular for children, can decrease anxiety in the dental chair and calm patients down so they can comfortably receive dental treatment that they need. Laughing gas is the lightest form of sedation that is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. 

How Nitrous Oxide Works in Children

The process by which laughing gas works is in children is no different than how laughing gas works for adults. Nitrous Oxide is inhaled through a mask, much like how it is done for adults. The gas then goes safely to the lungs of the child and is circulated throughout the body via the circulatory system. As the gas moves across the body, a calming effect ensues and helps to put the patient at ease. Unlike regular medication that's metabolized through the liver, gas is not metabolized by the body, so once treatment is finished, there aren't any extended wait times for the gas to wear off. 

The Best Time to Use Nitrous Oxide

Many times people wonder, "Is there a certain time of the day where nitrous oxide is the most effective?" The short answer is, yes. Especially in pediatric dentistry, patients, both young and old, usually perform better in the morning. Therefore, scheduling a morning appointment is highly recommended. This will set up the patient for a successful visit with positive dental results. There are eating guidelines as well that Dr. Myers will discuss with you in advance.  

Laughing Gas is Not a Numbing Agent

Let's be clear. The purpose of laughing gas isn't meant to replace things like lidocaine (numbing agents). So if a patient needs to be numb for dental work, the dentist should also provide a numbing agent. Again, it should NOT be mistaken as a numbing agent. Remember, laughing gas is to help with the anxiety, while lidocaine on the other hand is used for pain. 

Be sure to contact us at our East Lansing location, and ask us about laughing gas for your child. Laughing gas provides a safe and easy experience for your child, and will set the tone for future dental visits!