Nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas” or “happy air” is a very safe sedation option that is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Nitrous oxide is not intended to put your child to sleep. It is a sweet smelling, colorless gas used to ease pain and anxiety.
Indications for use:
- A fearful or anxious patient
- Certain patients with special health care needs
- A patient whose gag reflex interferes with dental care
- A patient for whom profound local anesthesia cannot be obtained
- A cooperative child undergoing a lengthy dental procedure
Before the appointment:
Please inform us of any change to your child’s health or medical history. This includes any allergies, illnesses or medications.
Please ensure that your child arrives to their appointment on an empty stomach. We recommend avoiding any food or drink for 3 hours prior to the appointment time – this is for your child’s safety and to ensure that an upset stomach will not occur.
Please inform us of any respiratory conditions that may make breathing through the nose difficult for your child. These conditions (allergies, sinus infection, deviated septum) may limit the effectiveness of the nitrous oxide sedation.
During the appointment:
Your child will still be awake and be able to breathe normally, continue to talk and interact with others. Your child will be able to hear and respond to any requests or directions that the dentist may have.
After the appointment:
After the procedure is finished, the nitrous oxide will be turned off and your child will be given pure oxygen to breath through the same mask for five minutes. Most children feel back to normal within 10 minutes.
Balance and coordination can be affected for a short period of time (this may also be related to laying down for the procedure), we recommend avoiding sporting activities and strenuous play for the remainder of the day.
Key Points to Remember:
It is very important that you ask any questions you may have about nitrous oxide before giving your consent. The doctors at Sporting Smiles are very accessible and will happily spend the time addressing your concerns and answering any questions that you may have.
Make sure you understand the reasons for your child having nitrous oxide and the possible risks involved. While most patients do not experience any negative side effects of nitrous oxide, a small number of patients do. Although rare, negative side effects may include nausea or vomiting, headache, increased sleepiness and light-headedness.
Feel free to ask questions before, during and after the procedure.
Nitrous oxide does not work for everyone. In cases where children are unable to accept treatment, alternative sedation methods are a possibility.