Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Most children are calm, comfortable and confident in a pediatric dental office. Our office is designed for young people, and pediatric dentists have additional training in caring for infants, children, adolescents and persons with special needs. 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, inhaled sedative agent used to calm a child’s fears of the dental visit and enhance effective communication between the patient and the doctor. Additionally, it works well for children whose gag reflex interferes with dental treatment.

Q: What is nitrous oxide/oxygen?

Nitrous oxide/oxygen (N2O-O2) is a blend of two gases: nitrous oxide and oxygen. A fitted mask is placed over the nose and, as the patient breathes normally, uptake occurs through the lungs. At the end of the treatment, it is eliminated after a short period of breathing oxygen and has no lingering effects.

 Q: 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 feelings of giddiness or euphoria, it is often called “laughing gas”. Childen sometimes report dreaming and their arms and legs may feel “tingly”. It may even make the time appear to pass quickly. If your child is worried by the sights, sounds or sensations of dental tratment, he or she may respond more positively with the use of nitrous oxide/oxygen.

Q: How safe is nitrous oxide/oxygen?

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

Q: Are there any special instructions for nitrous oxide/oxygen?

First, do not give your child any food within the two (2) hours preceding the dental visit (occasionally, nausea or vomiting occurs when a child has a full stomach).
Second, tell the pediatric dentist 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 the pediatric dentist if your child is taking any medication on the day of the appointment.

Ask any one of our pediatric dentists if inhalation sedation with nitrous oxide/oxygen is indicated for your child’s treatment.