by Dr Rose Kong, The Gap Dental Practice, QLD
At The Gap Dental Practice, we offer nitrous oxide sedation for anxious and nervous patients, both young and old. It’s particularly effective for children, and by using nitrous oxide gas, we can often avoid using local anaesthesia for fillings. Needles are something that anxious patients most often worry about.
What’s good about it
For children, we use scented ClearView nasal masks manufactured by Accutron. They come in a variety of sizes and scents but the strawberry scent is a favourite. It fits well over the nose, creating a good seal to minimise leakage. It also has a low profile so patients can still see over it to watch TV.
These nasal masks provide good access to the mouth. Other brands can be very big and bulky which makes it difficult to work around, particularly when working on maxillary teeth. The clear outer mask helps show whether the patient is breathing in the gas through their nose. Fogging indicates this is happening so we can monitor the patient’s breathing and assess the effectiveness of the gas.
Acccutron also makes a latex-free version for those who suffer from allergic reactions. These masks help us create a more comfortable and pleasant dental visit for our patients.
What’s not so good
One downside to these masks is that they’re single-use which translates to an additional cost compared with autoclavable masks. The benefit of single-use is that they minimise cross-contamination. We tend to give patients the masks to take home as a nice smelling souvenir.