Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is most often used for children who are mildly or moderately anxious or nervous. It eases their fears so that they can relax and receive treatment comfortably and safely.
Nitrous oxide is administered by placing a small mask over your child's nose. Your child will be asked to breathe through his or her nose and not through the mouth. As the gas begins to work, the child becomes calm, although he or she is still awake and can talk with the dentist. When the gas is turned off, the effects of sedation wear off almost immediately.
As the child gets older and becomes more comfortable with the dentist, nitrous oxide may not be needed.
Nitrous oxide is safe, easily taken and always delivered mixed with oxygen.
When the treatment has been completed, the nitrous oxide is turned off and oxygen is delivered for 5 to 10 minutes to help flush the child's body of the gas. The effects of nitrous oxide should disappear as oxygen is breathed.
Sometimes, nitrous oxide can make a child feel nauseous. It's best that a child not eat too much beforehand. Also, if your child is congested or has trouble breathing through the nose, nitrous oxide may be less effective.