Novocain or Nitrous Oxide for Children?

Which is better - Novocain shots or laughing gas on children 15 and younger?

Question:

Laughing gas (nitrous oxide) can be a great way to help a patient relax before and during dental treatment. In fact, most people who have been sedated with nitrous oxide will generally describe a feeling of warmth, floating, or heaviness. Some patients may go through certain stages before reaching these sensations. These stages may include light-headedness and tingling sensations of the arms and legs. It is important to keep in mind that responses vary from patient to patient, so one should not panic or wonder about the effectiveness of the gas if these symptoms are not experienced. The sedation of the nitrous oxide must be carefully monitored to ensure that oversedation does not occur. With the conscious sedation nitrous oxide provides, this monitoring is easily done through verbal communication with the patient.

While some patients may report the sensation of "pain" is more tolerable with the use of nitrous oxide, the sensation of pain is not altogether removed by the inhalation of nitrous oxide; therefore, local anesthetic should still be used to perform dental procedures. The most commonly used local anesthetic is actually lidocaine or xylocaine. This anesthetic has a slightly different chemical formulation, which is more effective and less allergenic, than novocain.

In summary, for nervous or anxious patients, the combination of local anesthetic and nitrous oxide gas can be very helpful in relieving pain and anxiety, thereby creating a more pleasant dental experience. With children, the dosages must be adjusted according to weight of the child. If a patient is not overly nervous or anxious, the use of a local anesthetic should be sufficient to comfortably complete the procedure.

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