Nitrous Oxide, also referred to as laughing gas, is a mild form of sedation for children who visit the dentist. Nitrous Oxide helps ease a child's fears to help them relax during their visit, allowing them to receive dental treatment in a comfortable and safe manner. Nitrous Oxide is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry. It is well tolerated, has a rapid onset, is reversible, can be adjusted in various concentrations and is non-allergenic. Your child remains fully conscious and keeps all natural reflexes when breathing nitrous oxide. He or she will be capable of responding to a question or request.
Nitrous Oxide is delivered through a mask over the nose, and the child is asked to breathe normally through the mask. As the gas begins to take effect, the child will become more relaxed and less nervous. The child will remain awake during the entire procedure and will be able to interact and communicate with the dentist. Nitrous Oxide is extremely safe to use during treatment and is eliminated from the body quickly after the gas is turned off. Once treatment is completed your child will be given oxygen to breathe for 3 to 5 minutes, and there are no lingering effects from the use of Nitrous Oxide.
While breathing in Nitrous Oxide your child will 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 say they feel like they are dreaming and their arms and legs may feel “tingly” or "light." It raises the pain threshold, can suppress a gag reflex, and may even make the time appear to pass quickly. If your child is worried by the sights, sounds or sensations of dental treatment, he or she may respond well with the use of Nitrous Oxide.
In a small percentage of children Nitrous Oxide may not be effective, especially those children who have severe anxiety, nasal congestion or who cannot tolerate wearing the nasal mask. We will review your child’s medical history, level of anxiety, and treatment needs and inform you if nitrous oxide is recommended for your child.