Nitrous Oxide

“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 be of benefit.

Nitrous oxide/oxygen (N2O) is a safe, effective technique to calm a child’s fear and to improve behavior and communication during a dental visit. It is used to increase the comfort of children who have a severe gag reflex or require long dental procedures as well.

Since we administer nitrous oxide sedation through a mask that fits over your child’s nose, please inform Dr. Wingate 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 rare. Nausea and vomiting are the most common adverse effects, occurring in 0.5% of patients.

Q. Are there any special instructions for the 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 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. Dr. Wingate knows that no children are the same! We tailor every service to your child as an individual. Nitrous oxide is not effective for some children, especially those who have severe anxiety, nasal congestion, or extensive treatment needs. Dr. Wingate has comprehensive specialty training and can offer other sedation methods that are right for your child.

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