Benefits of Laughing Gas (Nitrous Oxide) for Children

Benefits of Laughing Gas (Nitrous Oxide) for Children
Posted on 08/10/2015

Child-Dental-Patient-copyAnxiety and going to the dentist seem to go hand in hand for most people. Dental schools teach future dentists the term "white knuckled-" patients who are so terrified that they grab the handles on the dental chair so firmly their knuckles turn white!

Laughing gas, in particular for children, can decrease anxiety in the dental chair and calm patients down so they can comfortably receive dental treatment that they need. Laughing gas is the lightest form of sedation that is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. 

How Nitrous Oxide Works for Children

Laughing gas is inhaled through a mask that sits on the child's nose. The gas goes safely to the lungs and then through the body to help calm the patient down. Unlike medication that is metabolized through the liver, gas is not metabolized by the body, so once treatment is finished, there are no long wait times for the gas to wear off. Not only does it help with anxiety, it can also be an analgesic and help mask pain.

Laughing Gas is Not a Numbing Agent

Laughing gas is not meant to replace lidocaine (numbing agents), so if a patient needs to be numb for dental work, the dentist should also provide a numbing agent. It should not be mistaken as a numbing agent. Remember, laughing gas is to help with the anxiety and lidocaine is for the pain. 

The Best Time For Nitrous Oxide

People often wonder, "Is there a certain time of the day where nitrous oxide is the most effective?" In short, yes. Especially in pediatric dentistry, patients usually perform better in the morning, so scheduling a morning appointment is highly recommended. This will set up the child for a successful visit with positive dental results. There are eating guidelines as well that your dentist will discuss with you in advance. 

Be sure to contact us at either our Glenview or Chicago location, and ask us about laughing gas: providing a safe, calm and easy experience for your child will set the tone for future dental visits!