Calm Your Child's Dental Fears with Oral Sedation

Many children panic when visiting the dentist. Board-certified family dentist Padmaja Yalamanchili, DDS PC, is no stranger to the situation, and that’s why she offers oral sedation (aka: nitrous oxide)  to young patients at her practice in Fairfax, Virginia.

Here’s what she wants parents to know.

Oral sedation 101

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognizes oral sedation, nicknamed “laughing gas,” as safe and beneficial for young patients who need it. It is composed of nitrogen and oxygen and is delivered through a mask placed over your child’s nose,

The mild sedation it provides keeps children relaxed during fillings, cleanings, and any other necessary dental treatments.

How oral sedation works

Oral sedation is widely used in dentistry for children and adults. It’s safe and effective in helping children with a strong gag reflex, those who are nervous about the dentist, and those who undergo a more extended dental procedure. 

Nitrous oxide provides a euphoric feeling that can cause some kids to laugh or giggle. 

Patients often describe feeling calm, relaxed, and sometimes sleepy or groggy. 

It’s unnecessary to restrict food and drink before an appointment in which nitrous oxide will be used, but children should only eat light food or liquid only. Dr. Yalamanchili also encourages parents to dress children comfortably to improve their overall experience and allow our assistants to attach monitors quickly and easily.  

Who oral sedation helps

Oral sedation can benefit any child who has anxieties or fears about visiting the dentist or getting a specific dental procedure. 

It’s especially beneficial for children undergoing more complex, prolonged procedures for which sitting still is difficult. It’s also helpful to children with behavioral challenges who need help staying still in the dental chair and those with medical complexities or intellectual challenges that influence their ability to cooperate for dental treatment. 

Nitrous oxide may be less helpful for children younger than age 3. Wearing a mask over their noses can be challenging for toddlers. 

What happens after your child’s oral sedation dental work

The effects of laughing gas wear off just minutes after the patient breathes regular room air. There’s a common misconception that it causes lingering grogginess. School-aged children often return to the classroom after their appointment. 

If going to the dentist has turned into an anxious nightmare for your child, oral sedation can keep them calm, happy, and in optimal oral health.

To learn more about oral sedation options with Dr. Yalamanchili and how your child can benefit, call our office at  703-213-5312 or schedule an appointment online.

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