Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide has been used by pediatric dentists for years. The dentists at Santa Clarita Children’s Dental in Valencia, California, use nitrous oxide when needed to relieve their pediatric patients’ pain and anxiety while in the dentist’s chair. If you’d like to discuss the safety and use of nitrous oxide for your child, call for a consultation or book an appointment using the online app.
Nitrous oxide is a colorless gas with a slightly sweet smell that acts as on your child’s central nervous system to reduce pain and anxiety while in the dentist’s chair. Many children report that it feels like they’re on a ride going into outer space when on nitrous oxide.
The gas acts very quickly and doesn’t put your child to sleep, but it does make them feel a bit giddy.
Unlike other types of sedatives, nitrous oxide doesn’t affect your child’s reflexes, namely the coughing reflex, and therefore is considered very safe. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, nitrous oxide has not caused any illnesses or death.
Before the dentist gives your child nitrous oxide, they’ll review your child’s medical history with you, including any allergies, to assess the safety and proper use of the gas.
Some children don’t like how they feel when they're on laughing gas. Talk to your child to get a sense of how it went, and let the dentist know if the experience was unpleasant so that they can use an alternative means of sedation for future dental work.
Your child's dentist may use nitrous oxide for several reasons, including:
Unlike other methods of sedation, your child doesn’t need to fast before receiving nitrous oxide. However, the doctor may suggest that your child refrain from eating at least two hours before treatment and keep the last meal light to reduce the risk of vomiting.
Nitrous oxide can be used at any time to improve your child’s dental experience without any need for special preparation.
Your child may feel a little sleepy after administration of the nitrous oxide, and they may also complain of headaches or nausea.
Depending on the dental procedure, your child may need to refrain from eating for a few hours after getting home and stick to liquids and soft food for the first meal or two.
If your child is anxious about seeing the dentist or needs a lengthy procedure, call the office or book an appointment online to see if nitrous oxide is a good option for them.