NITROUS OXIDE – Explained

If your child is nervous about dental treatment or has dental anxiety, your pediatric dentist may recommend using nitrous oxide.  It is important to know that nitrous is very safe and completely temporary.  It is effective while your child breathes a mix of nitrous oxide and oxygen, and the effects are eliminated after your child breathes oxygen at the end of the appointment.  It is a great tool used in pediatric dentistry to help your child have positive dental experiences.

At the beginning of the appointment, your child will breathe through a sweet smelling mask for about five minutes.  The mask will be over their nose and will give them a mix of oxygen and nitrous oxide.  The nitrous oxide will relax your kiddo and will make them less sensitive to pain (from injections).  It will likely also make them less sensitive to the sounds and sensations of their appointment.  The staff will be encouraging the child to breathe through their nose so they get the effects of the nitrous.

When the work is complete, the nitrous oxide will be turned off and your child will breathe only oxygen for about five minutes or more depending on the length of the appointment.  After this, the effects of the nitrous oxide will be gone.  We encourage you to feed your child breakfast after their appointment or a very light breakfast before.  In some children, nitrous can cause nausea if they have had too much to eat prior to the appointment.  If you have any other questions or concerns regarding the use of nitrous oxide, we would be happy to answer them prior to your appointment.

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