Relaxation Aids


Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen inhalation is a safe and effective way to reduce anxiety and pain for dental patients. It also helps to establish an effective communication between the patient and the dental care provider which is a main factor in a positive dental visit. Anxiety and anticipation of dental treatment can be assisted by psychological methods. However, when treating children who are receiving dental treatment pharmacological approaches are commonly necessary. The risk for nitrous oxide/oxygen inhalation analgesia is minimal.


Patients have stable vital signs, no significant risk of losing protective reflexes and the patients return to pre-procedure mobility. If your child is 16 and has a driver’s license, it will be safe for her to drive back home after receiving this type of anxiety control. There are some contraindications to treatment with nitrous oxide/oxygen such as treatment with bleomycin sulfate and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is extremely important that you provide a complete and updated medical history at your dental appointment so we can address any concerns you may have. The most important factor in success for dental treatment is a clear line of communication between the patient and dental care provider, so we ask that you be a silent observer when present with your child during the dental appointment. We will be happy to further discuss any other questions with the use of nitrous oxide and oxygen at your dental appointment

Oral Conscious Sedation

Anxiety and anticipation of dental treatment can be assisted by psychological methods. However, when treating children who are receiving dental treatment, pharmacological approaches are commonly necessary. Oral conscious sedation is a procedure where we prepare an oral liquid medication consisting of a pain medication, antiemetic medication and/or an anxiolytic medication. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is also commonly used in conjunction with these medications and titrated to the patient’s comfort level. The medication dosages vary between patients and are dependent on treatment needs and anxiety levels. We routinely provide these procedures and as specialists in pediatric dentistry, Dr. Cantu and Dr. Balkos are board certified in providing this service.

The goals of oral conscious sedation are to guard the patient’s safety and welfare, minimize discomfort and pain, to control anxiety and minimize psychological trauma, to modify patient behavior and communication to allow safe treatment completion, and to return a patient to a state where medical discharge from a doctor’s supervision is safe meeting certain documented criteria.

During oral conscious sedation, your child does not receive an IV or lose consciousness. The child is able to respond to commands and understand questions that are asked during a procedure. Monitoring equipment is used as well as doctor supervision. For extensive treatment needs and extremely fearful patients, restraint during dental treatment will not be used in the office with oral conscious sedation as it is contraindicated in such procedures per the AAPD guidelines.

Dr. Balkos and Dr. Cantu will be happy to discuss any further questions or concerns concerning oral conscious sedation during your dental appointment.

Prior to your appointment:

  • Please notify us of any change in your child’s health and/or medical condition. Should your child become ill, contact us to see if it is necessary to postpone the appointment.
  • You must tell the doctor of any drugs that your child is currently taking and any drug reactions and/or change in medical history.
  • Please dress your child in loose-fitting, comfortable clothing.
  • Please make sure that your child goes to the bathroom immediately prior to arriving at the office.
  • Your child should not have solid food for at least 6 hours prior to their sedation appointment and only clear liquids for up to 4 hours before the appointment.
  • The child’s parent or legal guardian must remain at the office during the complete procedure.
  • Please watch your child closely while the medication is taking effect. Hold them in your lap or keep close to you. Do not let them “run around.”
  • Your child will act drowsy and may become slightly excited at first.

After the sedation appointment:

  • Your child will be drowsy and will need to be monitored very closely. Keep your child away from areas of potential harm.
  • If your child wants to sleep, place them on their side with their chin up. Wake your child every hour and encourage them to have something to drink in order to prevent dehydration. At first, it is best to give your child sips of clear liquids to prevent nausea. The first meal should be light and easily digestible.
  • If your child vomits, help them bend over and turn their head to the side to ensure that they do not inhale the vomit.
  • Because we use a local anesthetic to numb your child’s mouth during the procedure, your child may have the tendency to bite or chew their lips, cheeks, and/or tongue and/or rub and scratch their face after treatment. Please observe your child carefully to prevent any injury to these areas.
  • Please call our office for any questions or concerns that you might have.

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