Nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a safe, effective sedative agent.
Sometimes children may feel anxious before or during treatment. Your child may need more support and 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.
Nitrous oxide/oxygen (N2O-O2) is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. A fitted mask is placed over the nose and, as the patient breathes normally, uptake occurs through the lungs. At the end of treatment, it is eliminated after a short period of breathing oxygen and has no lingering effects.
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, it is often called “laughing gas.” Children sometimes report dreaming and their arms and legs may feel “tingly.” It raises the pain threshold 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 more positively with the use of nitrous oxide/oxygen. Nitrous oxide/oxygen 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 (keeps all natural reflexes) when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen. 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.