Nitrous Oxide Q & A

What is nitrous oxide?

It is a colorless gas that has a smell patients describe as a bit sweet. It interacts with the central nervous system to reduce pain perception and calm anxiety. The gas is fast acting and allows children to remain awake but sedated during their procedures.

Is nitrous oxide safe?

Yes, it is safer than most other sedatives. The danger in sedation comes with the impact they have on reflexes, which can cause problems with breathing. However, nitrous oxide does not affect reflexes, making it safe. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, nitrous oxide has not caused any illnesses or death.

Will my child be bothered by nitrous oxide?

Most kids find the experience to be a funny one, but there are children who dislike the sensation. After the first treatment using laughing gas, talk to your child about the experience. If they dislike it, we can look into alternative means of sedation for future work.

What are scenarios where nitrous oxide is needed?

Some situations where laughing gas can be beneficial include:

  • Calming intense anxiety
  • Helping a patient get through a long procedure
  • Easing a sensitive gag reflex
  • Relaxing children with special needs

Can my child eat before a procedure with nitrous oxide?

We ask that children do not eat for at least two hours before the procedure and that the meal they eat prior to their appointment be light. However, there is no need for fasting.

What can I expect after nitrous oxide use?

Children may feel sleepy or silly afterwards. They could experience headaches or nausea as well. We suggest soft foods and liquids only for the first two meals after laughing gas is used to reduce the risk of vomiting.

If your child has anxiety about the dentist, special needs, or requires a lengthy procedure, call our office to see if nitrous oxide is a good option for them.