Nitrous Oxide (N2O) is a safe and effective mild sedative agent used to calm a child during their dental visit. When inhaled, this gas compound produces an anxiolytic effect, calming your child before a procedure. N2O is administered via a nasal mask. As your child breathes normally, they’ll start to feel more relaxed. We can then perform the necessary procedure(s) without your child feeling pain or anxiety. When we are done, we’ll administer oxygen and the nitrous oxide will wear off in just a few short minutes. Easy peasy!
Are there any risks or side effects?
Only a small fraction of patients experience any negative side effects from N2O. If the patient inhales too much or the nitrous level is too high, the patient can get a headache, feel tired, nauseous, or feel too hot or too cold. Once the nitrous oxide is turned off, we’ll administer oxygen for at least five minutes to purge any remaining gas from your child’s lungs. During this time, they’ll start to become alert again.
What should we know before the appointment?
It’s a good idea to try to get your child to eat a light meal before their appointment. They’ll need to avoid large meals for about three hours following the procedure. If your child is over the age of 16, make sure they have someone accompany them to their appointment as they will not be able to drive following their appointment.
How will my child feel while under the effects of Nitrous Oxide?
Mostly, they’ll feel relaxed and sleepy. They’ll still be able to understand what’s going on around them, but it will feel more like a dream than real life. They’ll feel floaty and warm, and a little forgetful. In fact, they might not be able to remember what happened during their appointment!