Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas” as it is commonly called, is a sedation option used in dentistry to help patients relax. Nitrous oxide is a specialized combination of nitrogen and oxygen. When breathed through the nose it creates a calming effect that can make dental treatment easier for the patient. Nitrous oxide is commonly used in pediatric dentistry, offering a safe and effective sedation technique for children who are nervous or fearful of receiving dental care.
Many parents wonder what effects laughing gas will have on their children. Here’s what you can expect if nitrous oxide is administered to your child during a dental procedure.
How is Nitrous Oxide Administered?
A mask is placed over the nose and the patient breathes normally in and out through their nose. Within a few seconds or minutes of breathing nitrous oxide, the child will start to feel the calming effects. The mask remains over the nose throughout the procedure and the child is encouraged and reminded periodically to breathe through their nose in order to maintain the effects. Afterwards the mask is removed and the child will breathe regular room air as the effects of nitrous oxide wear off.
How Will My Child Feel While Under Sedation?
The effects of nitrous oxide are often described as a euphoric feeling. Many patients report that their arms and legs feel heavy and that their fingers and toes feel tingly. It has also been described as a floating sensation. In rare cases patients will giggle or laugh, which is where the term “laughing gas” originated. The patient remains fully awake while under the effects of nitrous oxide and is able to answer questions and respond to requests. They simply feel more relaxed and calm.
How Long Does it Take to Wear Off?
After the procedure is complete, the mask is removed from the nose so that the child can breathe regular room air. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off in a matter of seconds, or at most a few minutes after the mask is removed. The child will remain in the dental chair until they are feeling completely back to normal and are ready to get up and walk.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Most children will not experience any side effects during or after receiving nitrous oxide. The few side effects that may result include nausea, headache, dizziness, shivering, sweating, and fatigue. Some of these side effects are more likely to occur while the child is under the effect of nitrous oxide and wear off shortly after.
Is Nitrous Oxide Safe For My Child?
If you are concerned about the safety of nitrous oxide for your child, talk to your child’s pediatrician. In cases of special medical conditions, nitrous oxide may not be the best sedation option for your child. Children with respiratory conditions or breathing problems may not be the best candidates for nitrous oxide.
Dental Associates for Kids Only, LLP Provides Nitrous Oxide Sedation
As a pediatric dental practice we know that children can sometimes experience dental anxiety or fear of receiving dental treatment, which is why we offer sedation dentistry. Nitrous oxide is one of the safest and most effective sedation options for children, as it takes effect quickly and wears off quickly with little to no side effects.
To learn more, call 516-625-3806 today to schedule or request an appointment.