Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)

Some children are given nitrous oxide/oxygen, or what you may know as laughing gas, to help them relax for their dental treatment. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is given through a small breathing mask which is placed over the child's nose, allowing them to relax, but without putting them to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognizes this technique as a very safe, effective technique to use for treating children's dental needs. The gas is mild, easily taken, then with normal breathing it is quickly eliminated from the body. It is also non-addictive. While inhaling nitrous oxide/oxygen, your child remains fully conscious and keeps all natural reflexes.

Prior to your appointment:

  • Please inform us of any change to your child's health and/or medical condition.
  • Tell us about any respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult for your child. It may limit the effectiveness of the nitrous oxide/oxygen.
  • Let us know if your child is taking any medication on the day of the appointment.

FAQ's

What is nitrous oxide/oxygen?
Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. When inhaled, it is absorbed by the body and has a calming effect. Normal breathing eliminates nitrous oxide/oxygen from the body.

How will my child feel when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen?
Your child will smell a sweet, pleasant aroma and experience a sense of well-being and relaxation. If your child is worried by the sights, 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 non addictive. It is mild, easily taken, then quickly eliminated by the body. Your child remains fully conscious and keeps all natural reflexes when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen.

Are there any special instructions for nitrous oxide/oxygen?
First, give your child little or no food before the dental visit. (Occasionally, nausea or vomiting occurs when a child has a full stomach.) Second, tell us about any respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult for your child. It may limit the effectiveness of nitrous oxide/oxygen. Third, tell us if your child is taking any medication on the day of the appointment.

Will nitrous oxide/oxygen work for all children?
Our dentists know that all children are not alike! Every service is tailored to your child as an individual. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is not effective for some children, especially those who have severe anxiety, nasal congestion, extensive treatment needs, or discomfort wearing a nasal mask. Pediatric dentists have comprehensive specialty training and can offer other sedation methods that are right for your child.