Outpatient General Anesthesia
Some children are given nitrous oxide/oxygen, or what you may know as
laughing gas, to relax them for their dental treatment. Nitrous
oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. Nitrous
oxide/oxygen is given through a small breathing mask which is placed
over the child’s nose, allowing them to relax, but without putting them
to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, recognizes this
technique as a very safe, effective technique to use for treating
children’s dental needs. The gas is mild, easily taken, then with normal
breathing, it is quickly eliminated from the body. It is non-addictive.
While inhaling nitrous oxide/oxygen, your child remains fully conscious
and keeps all natural reflexes.
Prior to your appointment:
Conscious Sedation is recommended for apprehensive children, very
young children, and children with special needs. It is used to calm your
child and to reduce the anxiety or discomfort associated with dental
treatments. Your child may be quite drowsy, and may even fall asleep,
but they will not become unconscious.
There are a variety of different medications, which can be used for
conscious sedation. The doctor will prescribe the medication best suited
for your child’s overall health and dental treatment recommendations. We
will be happy to answer any questions you might have concerning the
specific drugs we plan to give to your child.
After the sedation appointment:
Outpatient General Anesthesia is recommended for apprehensive
children, very young children, and children with special needs that
would not work well under conscious sedation or I.V. sedation. General
anesthesia renders your child completely asleep. This would be the same
as if he/she was having their tonsils removed, ear tubes, or hernia
repaired. This is performed in a hospital or outpatient setting only.
While the assumed risks are greater than that of other treatment
options, if this is suggested for your child, the benefits of treatment
this way have been deemed to outweigh the risks. Most pediatric medical
literature places the risk of a serious reaction in the range of 1 in
25,000 to 1 in 200,000, far better than the assumed risk of even driving
a car daily. The inherent risks if this is not chosen are multiple
appointments, potential for physical restraint to complete treatment and
possible emotional and/or physical injury to your child in order to
complete their dental treatment. The risks of NO treatment include tooth
pain, infection, swelling, the spread of new decay, damage to their
developing adult teeth and possible life threatening hospitalization
from a dental infection.
After the appointment: