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What to Know About Laughing Gas for Kids at the Dentist

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As parents, we want our children to feel comfortable, safe, and relaxed — especially when faced with a situation like dental work that may bring about feelings of anxiety or even fear. At Apple Tree Pediatric Dentistry, Lawrenceville, GA pediatric dentist Dr. Jeni Kong and our caring team place patient comfort and safety at the top of our priority list, with a number of sedation options available to help ensure your child's appointment is as enjoyable and successful as possible. Here, you'll find answers to common questions about laughing gas in pediatric dentistry.

How does laughing gas work?

Laughing gas, also known as nitrous oxide, is a colorless and odorless gas. When inhaled, usually through a small mask placed over the nose, this mild sedative enters the bloodstream and travels to the brain, where it interacts with certain receptors. This interaction slows down brain activity and produces feelings of relaxation and euphoria.

How can laughing gas help kids at the dentist?

At Apple Tree Pediatric Dentistry, we use laughing gas in certain situations to make dental visits more comfortable for children. The mild, safe, and temporary sedative effects of laughing gas can help alleviate dental anxiety, making procedures easier for both the child and the dentist. Unlike general anesthesia, laughing gas allows children to remain conscious and responsive throughout the treatment. Some of the benefits of laughing gas during pediatric dental visits include:

  • Minimizes fear and dental anxiety
  • Reduces discomfort
  • Improves treatment quality
  • Allows more involved procedures to be performed
  • Allows more complete and successful treatments to be performed
  • Can allow children to have little to no memory of the treatment
  • Safe and effective
  • Effects wear off within minutes

When is laughing gas recommended for children's dental procedures?

Laughing gas may be recommended for various pediatric dental procedures, including routine cleanings, fillings, and extractions, where children may experience discomfort or anxiety. By incorporating nitrous oxide into these treatments, we ensure that children feel relaxed and at ease during their dental visits.

What alternatives are available if laughing gas is not suitable for a child's needs?

If laughing gas is not appropriate or adequate for a child's needs, we may recommend alternative sedation options such as oral conscious sedation or hospital sedation dentistry. Oral conscious sedation involves administering sedative medications in pill or liquid form before the dental procedure, providing a deeper level of sedation than laughing gas. Hospital sedation dentistry, performed under general anesthesia in a hospital setting, is reserved for children with complex medical conditions or extensive dental work, including patients with special needs who may not be able to tolerate a traditional dental setting.

Is laughing gas safe for kids?

Prior to any treatment or procedure performed with laughing gas or sedation, Dr. Jeni conducts a thorough evaluation of each child's medical history, dental needs, and level of anxiety. This personalized approach allows us to tailor the treatment plan to help meet the unique needs of each child, ensuring a safe and comfortable dental experience. As parents, you can trust our dedicated and caring team to prioritize your child's comfort and safety every step of the way.

Make your child's dental visit more comfortable and successful with pediatric sedation dentistry in Lawrenceville, GA

Whether your child has special needs that make dental visits difficult, is facing an extensive dental procedure, or simply has dental anxiety in general, sedation dentistry — like laughing gas — may be beneficial for their next appointment. Learn more about your options for dental sedation for kids by calling our experienced team at Apple Tree Pediatric Dentistry in Lawrenceville, GA to schedule your dental exam and consultation with pediatric dentist Dr. Jeni Kong today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.