Nitrous oxide gas is a mild form of sedation that is used throughout the field of dentistry in order to calm nerves and anxiety during dental treatments. Often referred to as laughing gas, it is used routinely for children and adults alike, allowing the patient to get through the procedure with ease.
But what does nitrous oxide do and how does it work? Let’s take a look at what you need to know before your child’s next dental appointment.
What Does Nitrous Oxide Do?
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a colorless, odorless, and non-flammable gas that occurs naturally. A mixture of nitrogen and oxygen, it has been successfully used in dentistry for well over a century to help provide patients a sense of ease during procedures.
It likely became known as laughing gas because of the feelings of euphoria that patients receive. Sometimes it makes them giggle and feel good and other times it is very calming and peaceful.
Nitrous oxide is known to have an anti-anxiety effect as well as a painkiller effect. As it is breathed in, nitrous oxide will begin to alter the pain and pleasure receptors located in the brain. This then gives the patient feel-good feelings while they are undergoing their dental procedure. Remember, this is a mild sedation so they will be awake and conscious the entire time, they just won’t experience any anxiety or discomfort.
The effects of the gas will kick in within moments of inhalation – and they will diminish almost immediately once the gas is turned off.
How Does Nitrous Oxide Work?
Should you opt for nitrous oxide during a dental procedure, a small mask will be placed over your child’s nose. The gas will be turned on and they will be instructed to breathe through their nose for the duration of the procedure. This ensures that it will continue to work for them.
As soon as the gas is turned off, pure oxygen is provided through the mask to flush away any remaining nitrous oxide. Within moments, your child will no longer feel the effects and will be able to continue their day without issue.
They will likely remember the dental procedure, but they will associate it with positive feelings, rather than negative ones.
Is Nitrous Oxide Safe For Kids?
Yes, nitrous oxide is safe for kids. It has been used in dentistry for many years — and is very popular in pediatric practices.
The patient is monitored throughout the entire procedure. The nitrous oxide can easily be controlled without leaving the patient’s side. And, it doesn’t have any impact on the heart rate or any of the major organs, including the brain.
Nitrous oxide has often been referred to as the safest form of sedation available. And since it allows children to have pleasant dental experiences, it sets the tone for future dental work, too.
Nitrous Oxide at Pediatric Dental Associates of Clinton
At Pediatric Dental Associates of Clinton, we want our young patients to have the most comfortable and enjoyable experience visit to our office. For certain dental procedures, nitrous oxide makes this possible.
To learn more, contact us at 908-735-6300. Or, request an appointment online.