Inhalation sedation – a great way to reduce anxiety in nervous patients

Children often feel worried or frightened when visiting the dentist and receiving treatment. We find that one of the best and safest ways to lessen their fear is to carry out dental treatment under ‘inhalation sedation’, which is often referred to as ‘happy air’ or ‘laughing gas’.

Inhalation sedation at Happy Kids Dental is provided by a highly skilled team that includes sedation-trained children’s dentists, therapists and nurses. So, parents can rest assured that their children will receive the highest level of care with us. After all, we are proud to say that we are the #1 Children’s Referral Practice in London, with over 100 dentists having chosen to refer their patients to us for this treatment in 2018 alone! Our team performs an average of 15 sedations each week.

If you think that inhalation sedation would be beneficial to your child, we recommend you read the our brief guide below:

The inhalation sedation process

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Inhalation Sedation for Kids

On the day of inhalation sedation, we will reiterate the process and discuss any concerns you may have.

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We place a small mask over your child’s nose, through which they breathe a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. After a few minutes, your child should start to feel more relaxed and giggly. It is also common for them to experience a tingling sensation in their fingers and/or toes. Children often say they feel warm and as if they are floating. We appreciate that your child may not like wearing the mask, so we will work with them to alleviate their fears by showing them the mask and providing them with one to practice wearing beforehand.

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Your child will recover from the effects of the nitrous oxide very quickly once their dental treatment has been completed. They will be observed for a brief period following the sedation.

We use The Wand (computer aided anaesthesia) for all of our sedations

This type of Anaesthesia is recognised by The American Association of Paediatric Dentistry as being the preferred method of providing pain relief to children. Please note that all of our dentists are trained in this technique.

Read more about The Wand

A brief guide to Happy Air Sedation at Happy Kids Dental

  1. You will be required to attend an initial consultation appointment where all your child’s treatment needs will be discussed and a written treatment plan formulated. At this appointment, we will assess whether your child is a good candidate for sedation.

    This appointment provides an ideal opportunity for you to ask any questions that you may have or outline any concerns.To ensure you are absolutely comfortable with the process, we take our time to explain the entire procedure in detail. This means that there will be no surprises when you attend the following inhalation sedation appointment. If you decide that sedation is the best option for your child, you will be required to sign a consent form, which confirms that you understand exactly what the procedure involves and agree to proceed with the treatment.

    We understand that your child may find wearing the mask uncomfortable or frightening, so we will provide you with a mask to take home and practice with before procedure

  2. After the Treatment plan was created and Sedation was recommended, then the next step is to book in for an Acclimatisation and Hygiene Appointment. This appointment allows anxious patient to build up trust in their clinician, acclimatises them to the surgery, prepares them for treatment and leads to a more successful outcome long term.

    At this appointment the patient will be given a nose piece to take home to practice with, and will choose a scent that they prefer. It is important that the acclimatisation hygiene appointment is not omitted.

  3. Although inhalation sedation at Happy Kids Dental is a highly successful procedure, it is important to keep in mind that the treatment is dependent on the individual child. Therefore, for best results, we advise scheduling sedation appointments during morning or early afternoon when your child is likely to be least tired.

    To avoid disruption during the appointment, if you need to bring other children with you, you are welcome to leave them in our play area. If you advise us of this in advance, we may be able to arrange for one of our staff to watch them while they play.

Inhalation Sedation - Q&A

At what age do we usually offer this treatment?

This treatment is usually made available to children from the age of four or five. Your child will be conscious (awake) throughout the procedure, and will be able to talk to you and the dentist. This should help with any worries they may have, and allow them to cope more easily with the treatment. It can also help if they are afraid of injections.

Relaxation, floating, slight drowsiness (but not asleep), slight warmth and a tingling sensation in the feet or hands.

Inhalation sedation takes a few minutes to take effect, and will also require a few minutes recovery at the end (3-5 minutes of breathing in oxygen through the nosepiece). Inhalation sedation carries no health risks for patients. It is the safest sedation method for anxious children who would otherwise be unable to cope with dental treatment.

The sessions are usually 60-75 minutes, your clinician will advise you how long the appointment will be.

Fasting is not required. While your child may have a light meal and a drink two hours before the procedure, heavy meals are not recommended as they can make the child nauseous.

Nitrous oxide sedation is administered in the dental chair. Your child will inhale the sedation gas through a small piece that sits on their nose. It does not cover their mouth, in order to allow the dental treatment to be delivered effectively. As nitrous oxide is administered, staff will monitor your child's level of sedation to ensure that they are still able to co-operate and follow verbal instructions.

All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult who will take them home following the procedure. After inhalation sedation, it is advisable to avoid active sports for at least two hours

Some people experience a sense of euphoria (intense excitement or happiness) when they receive nitrous oxide. This is why it is often referred to as laughing gas

For some children, sedation may not be effective. If this is the case for your child, we offer a range of alternatives, including general anaesthesia. Read more about general anaesthesia

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