Nitrous Oxide Sedation (Laughing gas)
Most children are calm, comfortable and confident in a pediatric dental office. The office is designed for young people, and pediatric dentists have additional training in caring for infants, children and adolescents. Sometimes, however, a child may feel anxious before or during treatment. Your child may need more support than a gentle, caring manner to feel comfortable.
Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a safe, effective sedative agent used to calm a child’s fear of the dental visit and enhance effective communication. Additionally, it works well for children whose gag reflex interferes with dental treatment, cleanings or xrays.
Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases: oxygen and nitrous oxide. A small mask is placed over the child’s nose and, as the child breathes normally, uptake occurs through the lungs. Your child will smell a faint, sweet aroma and experience a sense of well-being and relaxation. Since it may produce a feeling of giddiness or euphoria, it is often called “laughing gas.”
Children sometimes report dreaming and their arms and legs may feel “tingly.” It provides some pain relief and may even make the time appear to pass more quickly. If your child is worried by the sights, sounds or sensations of dental treatment, he or she may have a more positive dental experience with the use of nitrous oxide/oxygen.
Nitrous oxide/oxygen is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry and is very well tolerated. It has a rapid onset, is reversible, can be easily adjusted to various concentrations, and is non- allergenic. Your child remains fully awake and all natural reflexes remain in tact. He/she will be capable of responding to a question or request. Nitrous oxide/oxygen may also be used in combination with other sedative agents.