Nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas, is a form of sedation used primarily in dentistry to help patients relax during dental procedures. It is especially helpful for children who feel nervous or fearful of getting dental treatment.
If your child has an upcoming dental procedure, such as a filling, you may be wondering if laughing gas will be used and at what age it is safe for kids. Here’s what you need to know about nitrous oxide.
What is Laughing Gas?
Laughing gas is the common name for nitrous oxide, a gas that is made up of nitrogen and oxygen. When it is delivered through a mask placed over the patient’s nose, it offers a mild level of sedation. Patients feel relaxed and calm and may experience a heavy feeling in the arms and legs and sometimes a tingling sensation in the fingers and toes. It takes effect in just a few minutes as the patient breathes in and out through their nose.
Is Laughing Gas Safe for Children of All Ages?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and all major medical sources, nitrous oxide is safe for people of all ages, including children. It takes effect quickly and wears off quickly, with no adverse effects. Potential side effects include mild nausea or headache in a small percentage of patients.
How Long Does it Take to Wear Off?
The effects of laughing gas wears off in just minutes after the patient breathes regular room air. Adult patients are able to drive themselves home after having nitrous oxide and children are able to return to their regularly scheduled activities such as school and sports.
Does Laughing Gas Make You Laugh?
Most patients do not laugh while under nitrous oxide, but it can have that effect on some. Nitrous oxide provides a euphoric feeling that can cause some patients to laugh or giggle. Overall, patients describe feeling relaxed, calm, and even sleepy or groggy.
Is Laughing Gas Worth It?
If your child is nervous, anxious, or fearful of receiving dental care, nitrous oxide can make a significant difference. With the help of nitrous oxide they can relax in the dental chair and get the treatment they need without any fear or negative feelings. Parents can relax too rather than worrying about their child’s fears. After a positive experience with the help of nitrous oxide, the next dental procedure may go much more smoothly for the child.
Special Consideration For Children Under 3
For children under the age of 3 or 2, depending on the child, the use of nitrous oxide may be less beneficial. It can be difficult for a toddler to wear a mask over their nose if they are not calm or cooperative enough to do so. In the case of young children, the decision to use nitrous oxide should be made by mutual agreement of the dentist and parent.
Why Choose Dental Associates For Kids Only, LLP?
An important part of our job as a pediatric dental practice is to provide a positive experience with children that allows them to develop a healthy view of dental care. Sedation options such as nitrous oxide can put an anxious child at ease, helping them to get the dental care they need without stress or fear. We provide a variety of sedation options including nitrous oxide, local anesthesia, and IV sedation.