Parents of children with special needs often struggle with some of the most basic tasks, including routine dental visits. As a result, when that first visit finally does come, their child may be fearful, anxious, or uncooperative. That's one of the reasons why many dentists opt for sedation dentistry for these children. Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is a great option for these patients. Here's a look at what you need to know about nitrous oxide and how it can help your child.

Nitrous Oxide Works Fast

When you ask a dentist for nitrous oxide treatment before dental visits, you'll be surprised at how quickly it works. Once the mask is placed over your child's nose, he or she will start feeling the relaxation effects within minutes. This is ideal because it means less time spent sitting in the chair letting their anxieties build up.

Nitrous Oxide Relaxes and Soothes 

If you've never had nitrous oxide before, you may wonder what, exactly, your child will feel. The great thing about nitrous oxide is that it doesn't render your child unconscious or unable to follow the dentist's commands. He or she will be conscious and compliant, but will also be relaxed, tingly-feeling, and calm.

Nitrous Oxide Is Easy to Counter-Act

When the time comes, nitrous oxide is easy for your child's dentist to counter-act. The effects of nitrous oxide can be eliminated in minutes with the application of oxygen. Your child will be treated with pure oxygen for several minutes after the nitrous oxide is removed so that it eliminates any residual gas from their lungs. This helps to reduce the risk of nausea and headaches following the procedure.

Nitrous Oxide Is Ideal for Some Patients

There are some patients that dentists find are ideal for nitrous oxide treatments. Patients with a highly sensitive gag reflex, those with dental anxieties and fear, those who need to undergo lengthy dental treatments, and children with special needs who may struggle to cooperate otherwise. In those cases, nitrous oxide can help to ease anxieties, challenges, gag reflexes, and resistance. Overall, this makes the entire dental care experience easier and less traumatic for the patient as well as less difficult for the dentist.

Talk with a family dentist about the possibility of nitrous oxide treatment for your children. You can help prepare them for the dental appointment by helping them understand what to expect, and then have the dentist administer nitrous oxide to help calm them and make the process less stressful.