Children who require an extensive amount of complex treatment may also need sedation to cope with treatment.
Nitrous oxide (commonly known as happy gas or laughing gas) is breathed in through a nasal mask at the time of the dental procedure. The child remains fully conscious, but often feels relaxed. It can also be a great distraction, and is often used during local anaesthetic injections.
Sometimes general anaesthesia is required in order to provide dental treatment for children. Paediatric dental treatment under general anaesthesia is performed in a hospital, with a specialist anaesthetist as part of the team. It is a safe, gentle and effective option for children who are unable to tolerate or cope with dental treatment. Dental treatment under general anaesthesia is usually a day stay procedure with same day discharge.
Dr Caroline Chung is an accredited visiting medical officer at Hunters Hill Private Hospital and Alexandria Specialist Day Hospital, and holds regular operating lists at both hospitals.