Is Nitrous Oxide Safe for Your Children?

Knowing that your child will have an effective pain management solution at the dentist could give you confidence and peace of mind. Nitrous oxide is the sedation method of choice for dentists around the world. Also known as laughing gas or happy gas, this colorless and slightly sweet-smelling gas is used in dental surgeries to help relieve pain and anxiety.

When taking your child to visit a pediatric dentist for fillings, extraction, or any potentially painful procedure, nitrous oxide will likely be offered. While you may have some hesitation regarding safety and the effect of this gas on your children, you can rest assured knowing that it is quite harmless when properly used.

What is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide is a chemical compound that is non-flammable and soluble in water. Despite having some industrial, aerospace, and automotive uses, the gas is most commonly used as an anesthesia in hospitals and dental clinics. It’s such an effective way to relieve pain and anxiety that it has been classified by the World Health Organization as anessential medicine.

The gas is safe for both adults and children and its mechanism is highly effective. It can produce results within seconds of being inhaled. A light euphoria can come along with the pain relief, helping children to feel comfortable throughout dental procedures that would otherwise be highly distressing.

Why Does Your Child Need Nitrous Oxide at the Dentist?

The administration of nitrous oxide is one part pain management, and one part anxiety relief. Pediatric dental procedures have come a long way in recent years, but it’s not possible to eliminate pain or discomfort in every case. Even the best chairside manner won’t be enough to keep your child from feeling pain during some procedures.
Nitrous will help your child to relax, allowing the dentist to work carefully and without any resistance. This results in a safer and more comfortable experience.

How is Nitrous Oxide Administered?

An assessment will be carried out to determine whether nitrous is the most suitable method of pain and anxiety management. If it’s safe to proceed, the gas will be administered by the dentist or a dental assistant. Gas works almost immediately, with drowsiness setting in within the first two minutes. Nitrous is given at a controlled rate throughout the procedure.

It’s usually recommended that your child avoids food and drink for at least two hours before their visit to the dentist. This will reduce the exceptionally low chance of vomiting.

A mask or mouthpiece will be used, depending on the age of your child and the recommendation of the dentist. For younger children, all steps will be taken to make them comfortable with the device, before the gas is administered. You can help by talking to your child ahead of the procedure. Simply explaining what the gas is and how it is used to eliminate pain will help your child to relax.

You can remain in the room while the gas is being administered, and throughout the procedure. It helps to talk to and sooth your child as the gas begins to take effect. Holding their hand can be a great comfort.
Your child may feel warm and floaty as the gas starts to work. Many children will not remember the procedure taking place.

Are There Risks to Nitrous Oxide?

When administered by medical professionals there are no known side effects of nitrous oxide. Children regain full consciousness soon after the gas is turned off.

The Best Form of Pain Management for Pediatric Dental Procedures

Nitrous oxide gas is safe. It is highly effective at eliminating pain during dental procedures. Most importantly, there is no risk of long term side effects.

Your will appreciate just how comfortable this gas can make your child’s next procedure. If you have further concerns, then you can talk to your pediatric dentist ahead of time.

Is it time for your child’s next dental checkup? Dentists recommend that your child visit every six months to maintain healthy teeth and gums. If you’re looking for a compassionate pediatric dentist with the best bedside manner, it’s time to visit the friendly team at That Broadway Smile. We make early childhood, tween, and teen dental experiences comfortable, happy, and even fun! Contact us today at 516-753-5437 to schedule your appointment.