What is it?
Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” is a colorless and virtually odorless gas with a faint, sweet smell that is mixed with oxygen and administered to the patient during a dental procedure. Nitrous oxide elevates the general mood and can evoke a general sense of well-being. Most importantly, it relieves anxiety and reduces pain during the procedure.
How is it used?
Nitrous oxide is administered through a nose mask. Before nitrous oxide is administered to your child, Dr. Day and his team will consult with the child's parent or guardian, perform a review of the patient's medical history, and obtain a signature of informed consent. Dr. Day and his team's assessment includes questions such as:
- any allergies and previous allergic or adverse drug and anesthesia reactions
- current medications including dose, time, route, and site of administration
- diseases, disorders, or physical abnormalities and pregnancy status
- previous hospitalization to include the date and purpose
- recent illnesses (e.g., cold or congestion) that may compromise the airway
Is it safe?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) states that nitrous oxide is a mild, safe sedative that has an excellent safety record. There are few side effects associated with nitrous oxide: some temporary tingling and numbness may be felt, and less that 1.5% of patients may experience nausea or vomiting. Nitrous oxide has been safely used in dentistry for many years.
Should my child receive nitrous oxide?
The AAPD recommends that nitrous oxide may be used with:
- a fearful or anxious patient
- certain patients with special health care needs
- a patient whose gag reflex interferes with dental care
- a cooperative child undergoing a lengthy dental procedure
If you have questions or concerns about nitrous oxide, please feel free to contact our office at 517-393-8500.
Day Family Dental
Dr. Nathan Day, DMD • Dentist • Lansing, MI