Inhalation Sedation to Ease Dental Anxiety in Children

Inhalation Sedation to Ease Dental Anxiety in Children

It is quite normal for children to feel apprehensive about visiting the dentist, particularly if they haven’t been before, or are experiencing problems with their teeth and anticipate they might need treatment. We have a dedicated, children-only unit, specialising in looking after children’s oral health, so we understand what kids like and what makes them nervous. To put parent’s and children’s minds at ease we offer a technique called inhalation sedation. This can ease dental anxiety in children, and make their experience at our practice a pleasant one.

Before your next visit, why not read up on what inhalation sedation involves, so that you can explain it to your child in advance and feel comfortable knowing that you have all the facts?

What is inhalation sedation?

Often referred to as ‘laughing gas’ or ‘happy air’, inhalation sedation is a technique that uses a combination of oxygen and nitrous oxide to make the patient feel more relaxed. A small mask is placed over your child’s nose so they can breathe in the gas and they will be awake throughout so they are able to talk to you and to our dental team.

You will notice that after a few minutes of having the mask on, your child will become more relaxed, perhaps getting the giggles, feeling tingly in their fingers and toes, or experiencing a feeling that they are floating. These are all totally normal reactions to the oxygen and nitrous oxide mixture and mean that the inhalation sedation is working and helping your child to relax.

Why would you use inhalation sedation on my child?

When children require dental treatment that may cause them discomfort, or that they are worried about, then we will often suggest using inhalation sedation. It can also help if your child requires a local anaesthetic as part of their treatment, as it will make them less fearful of the injection or the numbing sensation.

Rest assured that our practice is compliant with the national and international standards regulating sedation guidelines in accordance with the Intercollegiate Advisory Committee for Sedation in Dentistry (IACDS). Our dentists are sedation-trained and perform around 15 sedations every week.

What are the benefits of inhalation sedation?

Inhalation sedation is a popular technique for treating children’s dental issues for many reasons, including:

  • Inhalation can be used on children from 4 or 5 years of age
  • The child is awake throughout and can communicate with parents and the dental team
  • It helps children to cope more easily with treatment
  • It can help if the child tends to gag during treatment

Are there any side effects?

Inhalation sedation is a very safe procedure, with no health risks to your child. Occasionally, your child may not be totally sedated, if they cannot breathe properly due to a cold. They may experience slight dizziness but this will pass once they stop inhaling the gas. In very rare cases a child may feel nauseous or vomit, which is why we recommend only eating a light meal prior to the appointment.

What to do prior to your child’s appointment

You may not know whether your child will need inhalation sedation prior to their appointment, but if they are coming in for treatment it is best to follow the guidelines below to make them as comfortable as possible and ensure the sedation is successful:

  • If your child has a heavy cold and cannot breathe through their nose we advise you to rearrange your appointment, as this will prevent the sedation from working properly.
  • We recommend your child only has a light meal and a drink up to an hour before treatment.
  • For a few days before your appointment you can encourage your child to practice breathing through their nose with their mouth open – this will get them used to the breathing technique needed when wearing the mask during sedation.
  • If there is a chance you or your daughter could be pregnant please let us know in advance, as nitrous oxide can be harmful to an unborn baby.

Book your child’s appointment today

Whether your child requires inhalation sedation or not, the team at Marsh House are here to reassure you and your child throughout their appointment. We have special anaesthesia to offer pain free dentistry and are the number one children’s referral practice in London.

Speak to us today on 020 8646 6300. We look forward to welcoming you and your child into our friendly practice soon.