Nitrous Oxide

What is nitrous oxide (laughing gas)? 

Nitrous oxide, sometimes called laughing gas, is the most frequently used method for easing mild to moderate anxiety in children during dental procedures.  It is a safe, sweet-smelling gas that your child will breathe in and out through their nose.  Laughing gas only takes a few minutes to take effect and will make most children feel calm and relaxed. As soon as the nitroux oxide is turned off, its effects will wear off within 5-minutes so it will be safe for your child to go to school afterwards.

Do your Winston-Salem and Kernersville offices offer nitrous oxide?

Yes, nitrous oxide is a great treatment option for treatment requiring dental treatment, such as a filling.  Laughing gas is often recommended for children, especially those under eight years old, to help them cooperate and have a more pleasant dental experience.  

How is nitrous oxide given to my child?

Nitrous oxide is administered in a mix with oxygen through a small mask that fits over your child’s nose. Your child will be asked to breathe in and out through his or her nose, which we sometimes call the silly elephant nose or space mask.

How can nitrous oxide help my child during their dental visit?

As the nitrous oxide begins to work, your child will become calm and relaxed.  Some children will say that they feel warm or sleepy.  Nitrous oxide also has the benfit of reducing a gag reflex.  Your child will remain awake and able to talk with the dentist throughout the procedure.

How quickly do the effects of nitrous oxide wear off? 

At the end of your child’s appointment, your child will resume breathing just regular oxygen, and all the effects of nitrous oxide will disappear within 5 minutes. As your child gets older and becomes more comfortable during dental visits, nitrous oxide may not be necessary.

Is nitrous oxide safe for my child? 

Yes, nitrous oxide is very safe and has been used in dentistry for decades.  The most common, but rare side effect, is nausea.  We recommend having your child avoid heavy, fatty foods (such as french fries) within two hours of their appointment.

Most children are candidates for laughing gas.  However, we will need to complete a medical history to ensure it is suitable for your child.  Certain patients with chronic obstructive pulmonairy diseases (COPD), uncontrolled asthma, or MFTHFR gene may not be candidates for nitrous oxide.