Nitrous oxide, sometimes called laughing gas, is the most frequently used method for easing mild to moderate anxiety in children during dental procedures. 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. As the gas begins to work, your child will become calm and relaxed. He or she will still be awake and able to talk with the dentist throughout the procedure.
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. As your child gets older and becomes more comfortable during dental visits, nitrous oxide may not be necessary.