Giving a Toddler Laughing Gas

Updated on March 21, 2008
M. asks from Winter Garden, FL
14 answers

Hi moms, I really could use some advice. My husband thinks I am crazy for being so nervous. My 3yr old son has to have some fillings done and one dentist tells me they will give him laughing gas to do it. Another dentist tells me they want to do it in the OR and put him to sleep. Here is the problem he is not diagnosed with Asthma, but he does do treatments alot when the weather changes.
He's Ped/Dr, tells me to make sure I let them know in case he starts wheezing. What would you do?


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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for your imput. My husband and I have been going back and forth. I am going to get his fillings done in the OR. We do have a ped/dentist. I will keep you informed .

Thanks again

More Answers



answers from Gainesville on

You are not crazy, you are a very diligent mother. More power to you!!

You may need a second opinion on your 3 year old child's need for dental fillings. Many are now recommending that if the tooth is not infected, to leave it alone (baby teeth will fall out soon) or to pull it out if there is a risk of the infection spreading.

Please please please don't give your son metal (silver) fillings. They contain mercury which is extremely toxic and very dangerous for anyone, especially a child, to have in their mouth.

My daughter got asthma shortly after she had metal fillings put in, and it disappeared shortly after those filled teeth fell out. As an adult she is now dealing with mercury residue in her body that is causing bone deterioration.

My own asthma went away after my silver fillings were removed. I am now dealing with severe mercury toxicity from having so many silver fillings for so long. Mercury has more dangerous effects than you want to know, and they are extremely under-reported because the American Dental Association does not want you to know, either.

You know how there are warnings out about consuming fish because of mercury? Well, having a metal filling puts much more mercury in the body than any kind of fish diet.

Dental problems are nutritional problems, not hygiene as the ADA and food industry would like us to believe. Read "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" by one of the world's top dentists, Weston A. Price.

Your son's dental problems may be due to a lack of the fat-soluble vitamins. In that case, a daily dose of high-vitamin cod liver oil, as well as a diet rich in bone broths, organ meats, especially liver from pastured animals, and full fat, raw and fermented dairy foods can help the teeth heal. See this wonderful nutritional website for more information on that.

Total anesthesia is very dangerous, more dangerous than most of the surgeries that they perform when you are given the anesthetic. It also actually does cause brain damage. Laughing gas would be much preferable and less dangerous.

Two other common dental procedures to avoid are fluoride treatments and x rays. Use a biological dentist.

There is a dentist in Jacksonville who is wonderful with small children, very fast, and does not use dangerous procedures. Dr. Stephen Hwang whose website is There is a dental office 2 blocks from our house, but we drive all the way from Gainesville to Jacksonville because he is the best we've found.

M. Minno
Mother of two
Grandmother of two

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Orlando on


I would look into a pediatric dentist not an adult dentist that also sees kids. Also make sure that the staff at the office are BLS (Basic Life Support)or preferably PALS(pediatric advance life support) trained. Then make sure that the office is equipped to meet BLS support. I really doubt that you would need that but as a mom and nurse that is what I do for my children. I would lean more towards the gas and local anesthesia with a child with asthma as putting him to sleep with general anesthesia always poses the risk of having to intubate and we don't like to do that with asthmatics. I have an asthmatic daughter. On another note to prevent cavities in the future here are some thoughts. Make sure that after you brush his teeth at night that he only drinks water not milk. Also make sure to brush his teeth after his breathing treatments or inhalers. Many of those medications have a steroid component and left on the teeth they can break down the enamel on the teeth and cause cavities.



answers from Ocala on

Hi, I am a dental asst and have worked in the peds field. If you have them give your baby the nitrous they have people that are trained to do so. How ever if you want him to go to the hospital they will not put him to sleep. They will give him something to make him sleep. Let me explain. If we were to put him asleep we would have to breathe for him and at that age we don’t do that. But if we give him something to make him sleep, this is done to make the dental experience for him positive and he will want to go to the dentist when he gets older. At the hospital you can go in with him while he goes to sleep (check with doctor) and see who is taking care of him. In the office the doctor (most of the time) will not let you go back as it is easier to put on the funny nose with the asst.
Also the choice is yours and if you have any questions please talk to the dentist and he/she will explain it all to you. Either way he will be monitored very closely no matter what way you choose. If he is having a hard time with the Asthma the doctor will not do either way, or if you have an inhaler bring it with you as I said he will only be asleep in the hospital or in the chair. We can wake him up if we need to. I hope this helps any other ? please e-mail me.



answers from Daytona Beach on

Hi M.!
I'm Genia, mom to 2 kids, one girl one boy. My son, who is two also does breathing treatments. Also like you he is on alot of breathing treatments especially when the weather changes. They also have not said he has asthma yet but he is on a couple of asthma meds and it helps his breathing a ton! Does he snore at night? Does the snoring get better when he takes his breathing meds before bed? Does he have wheezing ever, or especially when he gets sick? If bretahing or wheezing is an issue with him then I think you have every right to be nervous.

I would take the route of going to the OR and doing it there with him put to sleep, just in case something happens, the hospital would be more equipped to handle the unexpected. Or I would see if there is a dentist that uses an air or laser drill rather than a regular drill. With those drills its just air or lasers that are removing the decay so there's no pain involved. He might still be nervous and if that's the case I would just ask his doctor if there's a mild relaxant that he could take.

My daughter recently had ear tube surgery and before they put her to sleep, they gave her some kind of sedative that just relaxed her(didn't put her out) enough so that they could wheel her off to the operating room without me and she didn't care one bit! That might work for your son as well.

But I think you have every right to be nervous, and I'd air on the side of caution.
I hope this helps, if you care to chat more about it please feel free to email me offline.




answers from Daytona Beach on

In my opinion ~ It would be easier on all of you if he was to go into the OR and be put under. It seems to me this would be the better option as the laughing gas may very well cause him problems and may make his asthma worse.

Praying God's Blessings on you and yours during this time,




answers from Panama City on


I am a dentist and would recommend that you take your child to a pediatric dentist for his care. Pediatric dentists have extra training to deal with children and how to sedate them for dental treatment. I do not know "how many" fillings your son needs, but if he has fillings in all four quadrants of his mouth (upper right and left and lower right and left) then he will most likely need multiple appointments to have the fillings done in the dental office with nitrous oxide. In which case I would probably recommend having all the treatment completed in one visit in the OR with a pediatric anesthesiologist doing the anesthesia. There are obviously risks to everything, but if you find a good pediatric dentist they will be able to tell you what is best for your son based on his treatment needs.

Oh, a couple more things. Please don't take this lightly and say that they are just baby teeth and that they will fall out. The baby teeth are VERY important and hold the space for the adult teeth. AND please do not listen to personal testimonies about the silver fillings being bad. To date there is absolutely NO research to prove this. Amalgam (silver) fillings are very good for back teeth and your dentist will be able to tell you which situations would work better silver fillings, versus white fillings.




answers from Orlando on

I was in the dental field for 15 years. My kids were raised in dentistry, but my youngest wasn't so he flipped out when he went for the first time at age 2 for a check up.
I had to take him in at age 4 and have work done. We'll some kids tolerate going and some do not and you have to be understanding of the real fear they have of the unknown and firm with the manipulation of trying to get out of it.
The gas will make them calm, but only if they stop crying and breath it. If they are crying and yelling it does no good.
I would at least try it and explain as best as you can what is going to be done and try to ease him in that regard.
Going to the right pediatric dentist is the key. You have to see that they are good with the kids and that the assistants are as well. If they are calm and relaxing and educating the child it will go a whole lot better.
But some kids still act out the whole time and once it's over they are fine.
My son was covered with sweat and completely exhausted, but was so proud a few hours later of his shiny tooth.

If you can give some of the things they use in the dentist office funny names that helps them to not feel threatened as well. Like the air/water sprayer I always called it my water gun and I let the kids hold it and spray it. The big suction to clean the mouth out was called Mrs. Thirsty and the little one was Mr. Thirsty because he sucks all the water out of their mouth. And the drills were called Mr. Bumpy and Mr. Whistler.
Anyway I know that sounds silly, but if you can make seem less threatening to them then they do much better with it.
Dental phobics are created not born.
I hope you have a good dentist if not and you'd like a referral email privately and I'll give you the name of the one I took my youngest to here.
Good luck, he'll be fine.



answers from Orlando on

My son has severe asthma and his teeth are so very bad, between the stgeroids, the antibiotics, the inhalers and breathing treatments they are just destroyed. The doctors finally cleared him to have work done because stress set him off easily. Also anything they use to numb him would raise his heart rate and he has a heart condition. As long as you check with your doc/docs and they say it is ok I would not worry. I know that good dentists take things like sedation very seriously. Personally I would rather do the sedation than the laughing gas, just less stress on my little guy. Take care and hope everything goes well.



answers from Orlando on

I know you made your decision already and I am a little late responding but....
We have been in both situations. I have 4 kids and 2 of them have/had bad teeth and needed a lot of work. My oldest went into the OR. All done, one visit. I reccomend this way. He still has good teeth now.
My now 4yr old is going the other route, only because the Drs that do the OR thing wont take our Ins. She has been thru 2 appts and has 2-3 more to do. They do 2 teeth at once. The first time was not too bad but the 2nd they had a hard time getting a spacer in. She came out crying. She wasn't hurting but I think scared. It breaks my heart but we don't have a choice her teeth are bad and they hurt.
Good Luck!



answers from Orlando on

i have an 11 yr,old granddaughter with severe asthma(she was born with it).when she was 3 she had to have extensive dential work done.the dentist put her to sleep for the work which would have taken 8 trips in the was all done at was painless for both her and my daughter.the only side effect was she threw up in the car going home.she had to have several extractions and almost all the rest were fillings and a couple of root canals.i suggest going to the dr.your most comfortable with.ask your ped/dr. who he'ed send her/his kids too.




answers from Jacksonville on

I worked for a pediatric dentist office and have had first hand experience with the use of nitrous oxide (laughing gas), as well as having the patient sedated. It is something that is not taken lightly. We take all of the childs vitals and the child is hooked up to a monitoring system during the appt. With the child having asthmatic problems, the doctor will evaluate him. Most times, the child is able to be sedated without any concern of a potential problem. In addition to the sedative, the child has a constant flow of nitrous oxide. It really serves as a wonderful way to get a lot of work done in one visit, without undo stress on the child. As a parent, I would feel the same way you do, but as a pediatric dental assistant, I would go that route to prevent my child from being upset. When a child is so upset, they tend to thrash around and really could cause themselves as well as the doctor/staff to get hurt. Have you had a consultation with your dentist and expressed your concerns? Do you feel that you trust the doctor your child sees? Trust is really important. If you don't feel it, you may want to go elsewhere. I know that the office I worked with is one of the best. Not because I worked there, but because I have heard the testimonies from many patients and their families. If you are in this area, I can get you the info, but as far as the sedation factor goes, my office will suggest it too. It really is what is best for all involved. Does your son have a lot of work to be done? If not, then they can probably get it all done in one visit. Keeping your son on a regular cleaning schedule will help him get used to the dentist and the staff. Before long he will see them as friends and not be so intimidated by them and the environment. We made it a goal to reach out to the kids and become friends with them. It is amazing when you finally make a break through with one of them and they give you a hug and can't wait to come back!! I think that is why I loved pediatric dentistry so much. It is very gratifying. We can shape and mold the children so that they don't fear the dentist like most adults do. Dentistry has come a LONG way, and doesn't have to be so scarey. I hope this may help ease your mind a little. Let me know what happens with it and how he does. Good luck!



answers from Panama City on

go with the gas!! When ever they put anyone (under) it is life theatening. . It is a state of the body that is very close to death and if your child has never been under you don't know how they will react. I've had over 50 operations and I'll choose locals with drugs to make me sleepy, but not under.Never let anyone go under without being in a hospital!!
My sister was put under for a gall blatter caused her heart problem to incease the antistesia did her in. GO GAS



answers from Orlando on

my daughter had fillings when she was 3 and she had laughing gas and she does have asthma. however they still restrained her to a papoose and she was very upset at first so next appt was a little better. all in all it went fine so im not to concerned if she had to do it again its always scary but as long as you trust your drs. then they do know what they are doing as for an o.r and putting the child to sleep honestly i think that would be an even scarier setting..



answers from Fort Walton Beach on

Hi M.,

Boy, I feel for you...I would be nervous also. All sedation has dangers. I've been sedated MANY times since I was six for several conditions and I have felt a little piece of my memory go away each time. Laughing gas is much safer than putting him completely under, but the stress of breathing in the gas is tramatic. I was 6 and I STILL remember fighting them while they were holding the cup over my it was yesterday.

The last time I was put under was a necessary hernia operation. I don't have asthma or any other respiratory illnesses but while I was in recovery they had to shake me and tell me to breath because I was not doing it on my own. You do feel the effects quite a while after. I couldn't raise my voice over a soft tone without coughing for almost a year. (Do you know how hard that is with kids, lol!)

Is the filling absolutely necessary? If not, I personally wouldn't do it. If it is due to infection or something that absolutely can't be avoided you will have to determine what your son will be able to handle best. After this is all said and done, email me privately and I'll let you know what our family uses for dental hygiene. My kids have not had one cavity since we started using it...



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