Nitrous Oxide Sedation/Laughing Gas
- At times, your child may require more than our gentle, caring manner to feel comfortable. If your child feels anxious or fearful before or during a dental appointment, mild sedation with nitrous oxide, “laughing gas,” may provide your child with a more comfortable experience.
- Nitrous oxide/oxygen (N2O) is a safe, effective technique to calm a child’s fear and improve behavior and communication during a dental visit.
- It is also used to increase the comfort of children who have severe gag reflexes.
- The effects of nitrous are quickly reversible and your child can resume normal activity shortly thereafter.
- Since we administer nitrous oxide sedation through a mask that fits over your child's nose, please inform Dr. Jackie of any respiratory conditions that make breathing through the nose difficult for your child.
Frequently Asked Questions About Nitrous Oxide
Q. What is nitrous oxide/oxygen?
A. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases: oxygen and nitrous oxide. When inhaled, it has a calming effect on the body. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is eliminated from the body with the administration of 100% oxygen.
Q. How will my child feel when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen?
A. Your child will smell a sweet aroma we call “candy air” and may experience a feeling of giddiness or euphoria. Additionally, your child may report dreaming and arm or leg “tingling.”
Q. How safe is nitrous oxide/oxygen?
A. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry. It is mild, easily taken, and then quickly eliminated by the body. Your child remains fully conscious and keeps all natural reflexes when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen. Acute and chronic adverse effects of nitrous oxide on the patient are very rare. Nausea and vomiting are the most common adverse effects, occurring in 0.5% of patients.
Q. Are there any special instructions for nitrous oxide/oxygen?
A. Your child can consume a light meal (four crackers, plain toast, dry cereal, and water) in the two hours prior to the administration of nitrous oxide. Please avoid dairy (and dairy substitutes) and eggs on the day of your appointment. Please inform Dr. Wingate if your child is taking any medications or has had any changes in their health history.
Q. Will nitrous oxide work for all children?
A. Nitrous oxide is not effective for some children; especially those who have severe anxiety, nasal congestion, nasal obstruction/mouth breathing, or very extensive treatment needs. Should laughing gas not work for your child, we can offer other sedation methods that may be right for your child.
Hospital-Based Anesthesia at Main Line Health
- For our children with extensive treatment needs, severe cases of dental anxiety, or for some children with special healthcare needs, deep sedation may be required to receive comprehensive dental care in a safe and atraumatic fashion.
- Deep sedation will be monitored by a licensed, medical anesthesiologist while Dr. Jackie provides exceptional dental care with her own staff and own equipment.
- Dr. Jackie holds privileges at Paoli and Bryn Mawr Hospitals.