My five year old boy has two cavities on his lower front teeth. Our dentist -- we are new to him-- wants them filled and said he was going to use nitrous oxide as a sedative. My questions:
1. At age five does he really need fillings on baby teeth that will come out in the coming years?
2. I saw a "horror" story on TV a few years ago where a four year old boy died as he was sedated by his dentist who assured the parents there was positively no risk. Are there any documented cases of children dying or suffering problems related to nitrous oxide sedation? ...Rick
Rick, thank you for the great question. First, nitrous oxide is the safest
sedative agent known and to date. There has NEVER been a toxic/lethal case
when using nitrous oxide alone. (when monitored correctly!) However, there
have been fatalities with local anesthesia; but not nitrous oxide.
So, using nitrous oxide is highly recommended and I use it on almost every operative procedure in my office. The cavities on your child's front teeth (bottom) usually are lost between the ages of 6-7. It depends on the amount of root remaining and the severity of the decay which would determine if I would
restore these teeth or not. These teeth are very small and it is hard for
these teeth to hold/keep the restoration. If there is not much root
remaining, I would probably not restore them.
Now, dentists always seem to get a very bad rap. The show you probably saw
was 20/20 and they do this yearly. (the reason I know this is because I
always receive several phone calls after it is shown) The sedations that they
were speaking of were general anesthesia cases where children are completely
asleep. All sedations do have some risk involved. However, as mentioned
earlier, nitrous oxide is very, very safe. Without radiographs, I can only assume the scenerio. Your pediatric dentist will better inform you and since he/she has the x-rays, they will have a more definitive answer.
Return to Pediatric FAQ
Return to FAQ Index
You also have the option of using Google search technology to conduct a specific search within our databases to find more specific information. Adjust search terms as needed to refine search results: