Is Nitrous Oxide A Good Option For Your Children?

For general, family, and pediatric dentists, finding effective means for managing dental pain in children is a high priority to help provide a safe and even enjoyable experience. To alleviate feelings of anxiety and pain in children, many dentists choose a mixture of nitrous oxide as a form of dental anesthesia. Nitrous oxide is a colorless, sweet-smelling gas that’s inhaled and is then used as a sedation option. But is nitrous oxide safe for children? We’re here to explain what nitrous oxide does and how it is still used today to alleviate fears during dental treatment:

Is Nitrous Oxide Still Used By Dentists?

Nitrous oxide, also referred to by dentists as a conscious sedative, is considered one of the most used gaseous anesthetics in the world. At least 70% of dental practices use nitrous oxide as a sedative during procedures. This is because when the gas mixture is inhaled, it is absorbed into the lungs and eventually into the brain, where the blood transports it as free gas. Because of how easy it is transported by the blood, it can also be easily removed from the body due to its low solubility. For children in need of dental checkups, nitrous oxide provides a safe delivery method for sedation options, especially for children who have deep phobias of dentists or other conditions affecting their ability to receive treatment.

When under the influence of nitrous oxide, children receiving dental care are often more calm and relaxed throughout the procedure and can help assist with creating a more positive experience during their visit. In addition to this, nitrous oxide provides the following benefits:

  • Child Is Responsive and Awake: Unlike other forms of sedation, which often put people under general sedation, children will remain awake throughout the procedure, feeling more relaxed and perhaps even a bit giddy. While they are awake, your dentist will be able to clean your child’s teeth and help them follow instructions.
  • Quick Recovery Time: For children sedated with nitrous oxide, they will begin to recover immediately from the effects of the gas, typically within a few minutes. Afterward, they will be able to return to normal activities following the procedure, rather than having to spend time recovering from sedation.
  • No Side Effects: As one of the biggest benefits, using nitrous oxide lacks any side effects. Nitrous oxide is medically safe for both adults and children, and throughout the procedure, your child will remain calm and relaxed from beginning to end.

Learn More About Nitrous Oxide Sedation From Your Dentist

Nitrous oxide has been in use since the late 1800s and has a long history of being safe and effective for dental treatments. It is considered the perfect antidote for those suffering from nervousness or anxiety. If you have any further questions about nitrous oxide or other sedative methods for treating dental anxiety, then the best resource you can go to is your local dentist for more information. By calling your dental provider, they can answer all your questions regarding sedation options for your children and other information about treatment options and costs.

Maureen Karl, DDS, FAGD
As a graduate of the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine in 2004, Dr. Maureen Karl continues to hone her craft through continuing education. Dental patients throughout the Granbury, TX area know they can rely on our practice for skilled dental care using the latest practices.