Nitrous Oxide, or “laughing gas,” is a useful sedation tool for children who experience anxiety during a dental examination or procedure. Nitrous Oxide helps to ease your child’s fears and help them relax during their visit and to receive his/her dental treatment more comfortably and safely. The gas is typically administered through a mask over the nose; the gas is mixed with oxygen and delivered as your child breathes in and out at their normal pace. The patient is typically asked to breathe normally through his/her nose and within a few minutes, the gas takes effect and the patient becomes more relaxed.
Nitrous Oxide is a completely safe method of sedation and is quickly eliminated from the body after the gas is turned off. Your child will remain awake during the procedure and will be able to communicate with his/her dentist the entire time. After the procedure, the gas will be replaced with pure oxygen and your child will remain on oxygen for a few minutes to ensure that all the gas is out of his/her system.
Nitrous Oxide reduces your child’s anxiety and allows for more effective communication between him/her and the pediatric dentist. It also reduces the gag reflex, allowing for a more comprehensive and unhindered dental exam. There are no side effects or after effects of Nitrous Oxide sedation and following the procedure, your child should not be drowsy.
Nitrous Oxide has a faint sweet aroma and when your child breathes it in, he/she will experience a sense of well-being and relaxation. It can produce a euphoric reaction, causing giddiness and laughter, which is why some refer to Nitrous Oxide as “laughing gas.” Nitrous Oxide raises the pain threshold and can also make the time appear to pass more quickly, resulting in a painless and quick dental experience for your child. If your child has increased anxiety relating to the sights, sounds and sensations of dental treatment, he/she would respond more positively with the use of Nitrous Oxide.
Nitrous Oxide is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry. It is well tolerated, can be adjusted in various concentrations and is non-allergenic. Your child remains fully conscious and keeps all natural reflexes when breathing the gas. He/she will be capable of responding to a question or request. Please inform our office regarding any respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult for your child.
As children, of course, are not all the same, our dental services will always be tailored specifically to your child. In some children, Nitrous Oxide is not effective. We will review your child’s medical history, and level of anxiety and will inform you if Nitrous Oxide is recommended for your child.