Nitrous oxide, often referred to as “laughing gas,” can be very beneficial to help your child receive necessary dental care in a compassionate way.
Laughing gas is a type of sedative agent that can help reduce anxiety as well as assist with pain control.
A mask – we explain to the kids it’s like a “spaceman mask…like Buzz Lightyear wears” – gently sits over the child’s nose while they breathe in the laughing gas, a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. The laughing gas does not put your child to sleep but can help calm their fears and help them relax for treatment. The use of nitrous oxide often can be the difference between a comfortable, happy, successful appointment and challenging, upsetting appointment.
Even if your child doesn’t seems fearful of their upcoming treatment appointment, lying still for a long period of time can be challenging for kids and the laughing gas can help kids relax better during dental treatment.
Nitrous oxide also can have some pain reducing effects, again helping lead to a more comfortable, successful treatment appointment.
Laughing gas has been shown to be very effective in eliminating or at least minimizing the gag reflex, another benefit when it comes to providing comfortable, compassionate work in the mouth.
The laughing gas works rapidly, usually having an effect in just 2 – 3 minutes after your child starts breathing it. It is very safe, and we explain to your child that it will usually just make them feel a little bit “floaty – like they are flying in outer space like a spaceman.” At the end of the appointment, we turn the nitrous oxide part of the laughing gas off and have your child breathe 100% oxygen for about 3 – 5 minutes, which removes the nitrous oxide from their system before they even sit up.
Here are a few links with more information about laughing gas: