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Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a safe, effective technique to calm a child’s fear of the dental visit.

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Because pediatric dentists specialize in treating children, they are pretty good at making a child feel safe and comfortable. The office is especially designed for children and staff members who choose to work in a pediatric dental office because they like kids.

Sometimes, however, a child feels anxious during treatment. Your child may need more support than a gentle, caring manner to feel comfortable. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a safe, effective technique to calm a child’s fear of the dental visit.

Common Questions

What is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. When inhaled, it is absorbed by the body and has a calming effect. Normal breathing eliminates nitrous oxide/oxygen from the body.

How will my child feel when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen?

Your child will smell a sweet, pleasant aroma and experience a sense of well-being and relaxation. If your child is worried by the sights, sounds, or sensations of dental treatment, he or she may respond more positively with the use of nitrous oxide/oxygen.

How safe is nitrous oxide/oxygen?

Very safe. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry. It is non-addictive. It is mild, easily taken, and quickly eliminated by the body. Your child remains fully conscious, and keeps all natural reflexes when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen.

Are there any special instructions for nitrous oxide/oxygen?

First, give your child little or no food before the dental visit. (Occasionally, nausea or vomiting occurs when a child has a full stomach.) Second, tell your pediatric dentist about any respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult for your child. It may limit the effectiveness of nitrous oxide/oxygen. Third, tell your pediatric dentist if your child is taking any medication on the day of the appointment.

Will nitrous oxide/oxygen work for all children?

Pediatric dentists know that all children are not alike! Every service is tailored to your child as an individual. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is not effective for some children, especially those who have severe anxiety, nasal congestion, extensive treatment needs, or discomfort wearing a nasal mask. Pediatric dentists have comprehensive specialty training and can offer other sedation methods that are right for your child.