Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is the most frequently used method for easing mild to moderate anxiety in children. Administered through a small mask that fits over your child’s nose, it is an effective way to calm anxiety. 

Nitrous oxide is very safe and has been used for over 100 years in medicine and dentistry. It will  not cause your child to sleep; rather they will remain awake, responsive and maintain all natural reflexes during the entire visit.  This is NOT sedation or general anesthesia.

During this procedure, we administer more oxygen than a child breathes in normal room air. Your child will be asked to breathe through his or her nose and not through their mouth. As the gas begins to work, your child will become calm, although he or she will still be awake and able to talk with the dentist.

 Nitrous oxide is not a replacement for local anesthesia, but used in addition to it. 


Your child may have fluids prior to the visit, but we don't recommend a large meal directly prior to the procedure. This may result in an upset stomach from the gases.  Please also inform us if your child is taking any medications on the day of the appointment.  If your child has a cold and is unable to breathe through his/her nose, please call us to discuss the possibility of rescheduling the appointment.     


The effects of the nitrous oxide (relaxation and reduced pain sensation) will last only a few minutes after it is turned off and 100% oxygen is given for 5 minutes.  Your child will be able to resume normal activities after the procedure, except for those directed by us due to the nature of the dental treatment.

As your child gets older and becomes more comfortable during dental visits, nitrous oxide may not be necessary.