What is Nitrous Oxide and Is it safe for children?

Dentists Giving Nitrous Oxide To Child Patient

Because we specialize in pediatric dental care, we understand that every patient is unique. The Tooth Booth Pediatric Dentistry team members are professionally trained to accommodate all your child’s needs.

Some children experience some anxiety while in the dental chair. As a result, they cannot feel comfortable or sit still during treatment. Dr. Lam does not want to further upset these children and cause them bodily or emotional harm.

For these children, Dr. Lam may suggest the use of nitrous oxide/oxygen, which is a combination of two gases—oxygen and nitrous oxide. In this technique, a fitted mask is placed over the nose and as your child breathes normally, uptake of the nitrous oxide/oxygen occurs through the lungs. It is non-allergenic and well-tolerated. It has a rapid onset, is reversible, and can be administered in various concentrations.

Your child will remain fully conscious but smell a faint sweet aroma and experience a sense of well-being and relaxation. Because it often produces a feeling of giddiness or euphoria, it is also referred to as “laughing gas.” Some children have also reported dreaming and their arms and legs feel “tingly.”

The nitrous oxide/oxygen raises the pain threshold and may make time appear to pass more quickly. If your child often experiences worry or anxiety from the sights, sounds, and/or sensations during dental treatment, nitrous oxide/oxygen may aid your child in responding more positively. Nitrous oxide/oxygen may also be used in combination with other sedative agents. Like with all procedures, Dr. Lam will discuss your child’s treatment options with you.

Please note that nitrous oxide/oxygen may not be effective for some children, especially those with severe anxieties, nasal congestion, or discomfort wearing the nasal mask. It may also have limited effects on patients with respiratory conditions. Please inform Dr. Lam of any respiratory conditions your child may have or any prescribed, herbal, or over-the-counter medications your child may be taking. We do ask that you follow all instructions provided by Dr. Lam prior to and after the procedure.