Nitrous Oxide

Child in dental chair.Some children experience anxiety when visiting the dentist. In order to avoid any stress or worry and accomplish a positive dental experience, Children’s Dentistry of DuPont offers a form of conscious sedation called nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas”.

A colorless gas with a slightly sweet odor, nitrous oxide has been used in medicine for over a century. It is a popular treatment in pediatric dentistry because it is a safe and effective way of administering conscious sedation, which is when the patient remains awake, but is in a completely relaxed state. While under nitrous oxide, the patient will be able to speak, will be aware of what’s going on, and will remain in control of his or her functions. Dosages can be fine-tuned to the level of sedation necessary for the perfect combination of comfort and alertness. Treatment effects wear-off quickly afterwards.

Undergoing Nitrous Oxide Treatment

Nitrous oxide is inhaled through a small mask comfortably fitted over your child’s nose. To encourage a good experience, we often nurture your child’s imagination by creating a fantasy of him or her being an airplane pilot wearing a flight mask. As it is being delivered, nitrous oxide is mixed with oxygen so that gas levels always remain safe. This treatment is fast acting; after a few short minutes your child will begin to experience a floating sensation and some slight tingling in the hands and feet, signaling that the treatment is taking effect. Once our pediatric dentist verifies that your child is calm and comfortable, and that the nitrous oxide dosage is correct, she will begin the dental procedure. Afterwards, your child will likely not remember a thing.

Anxiolytic Treatment

It is important to clarify that nitrous oxide itself is not a substitute for a local anesthetic in children or adults, as it is labeled an anxiolytic (a type of treatment that makes anxiety disappear). In some cases a patient receiving nitrous oxide might also require an anesthetic injection. Even if your child needs a numbing shot, he or she will receive it while already under nitrous oxide sedation, so the injection will not cause any added alarm or anxiety.

Who Can Benefit from Nitrous Oxide?

Any child whose anxiety would otherwise prevent them from sitting calmly in the dentist’s chair can benefit from conscious sedation through nitrous oxide. Prior to beginning nitrous oxide treatment, we will collect your child’s complete medical history, including any medications your child is taking. This will ensure your child’s total comfort and safety.

A Calmer Dental Visit

We want your child’s visit to his or her pediatric dentist to be an enjoyable experience. Our staff and trusted children’s dentist, Dr. Tracy Takenaka, will always go the extra mile to help your child have a calm and relaxed appointment. We cater to children all over the DuPont area, including Yelm, Lacey, Olympia, Steilacoom, and the families of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. To schedule your next visit in our DuPont office, please contact us today. You may also request an appointment online.


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