Nitrous Oxide

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.  Staff members choose to work in a pediatric dental office because they like children and want to cater to their special needs.  These elements combine to make your child feel relaxed and special.

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 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 successful dental treatment.

How will; my child feel when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen?
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 also called “laughing gas.” It raises the pain threshold and may even make the time appear to pass quickly.  If your child is worried about the sounds or sensations of dental treatment, he or she may respond more positively with the use of nitrous oxide/oxygen.

How safe is nitrous oxide/oxygen?
Very safe.  Nitrous oxide/oxygen is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry.  It is well tolerated.  It has a rapid onset, is reversible, can be adjusted in various concentrations and is non-allergenic,  Your child remains fully conscious – keeps all natural reflexes – when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen.  He or she will be capable of responding to a question or request.

Are there any special instructions for nitrous oxide/oxygen?
First, do not give your child any food in the few hours preceding the dental visit, as food in the stomach may make your child nauseous.  Second, tell us about any respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult for your child, as it may limit the effectiveness of nitrous oxide/oxygen.  Third, tell your pediatric dentist is your child is taking any medication the day of the appointment.

Will nitrous oxide/oxygen work for all children?
We understand that not all children are alike.  Every service is tailored to your child as an individual.  Nitrous oxide/oxygen may not be effective for some children, especially those who have severe anxiety, nasal congestion, or discomfort while wearing a nasal mask.  We will review your child’s medical history, level of anxiety, and dental treatment needs and inform you if nitrous oxide/oxygen is recommended for your child.