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Is Nitrous Oxide Safe for Kids at The Dentist? 

added on: October 31, 2022
Growing Great Grins in Spring, TX

Your pediatric dentist in Spring strives to make every dental appointment fun and stress-free for all of our patients and parents. But we do understand that some of our patients may be nervous, anxious, or scared at their visit. While we will certainly use all our techniques to help your child relax, there are some times when we need to consider using a form of sedation dentistry such as nitrous oxide. But what is nitrous oxide? Is it safe? Don’t worry, we are here to help answer your questions. 

What is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide is a gas that has no smell and no color but can help relax kids while in the dental chair. It simply helps soothe kids and makes getting dental care easier, more comfortable, and more enjoyable. This is important because a kid’s experience with a dentist in their earlier years can affect their attitude about dentistry throughout their life. In fact, a study published in the National Library of Medicine found that many adults who are scared of the dentist can trace their fear back to a negative experience that occurred during childhood, and those adults are less likely to have regular dental and more likely to have dental problems. 

Is Nitrous Oxide Safe for Kids? 

Yes! The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry considers nitrous oxide safe for children to use during their dental appointments with proper moderation. Now, it shouldn’t necessarily be used on every kid in every situation, but it can be beneficial for kids who:

  • Will be having a longer procedure
  • Have trouble sitting still 
  • Have a strong gag reflex
  • Experience fear
  • Are special needs patients 

If your pediatric dentist in Spring recommends nitrous oxide for your child, know that it is safe and the effects wear off quickly. 

How Is Nitrous Oxide Administered?

One of the great things about nitrous oxide is that there are no needles involved, and it can be administered directly through a small nose mask. This mask only covers your child’s nose and delivers nitrous oxide, along with oxygen, simply through breathing. It takes about five minutes for the nitrous oxide to take effect. After treatment is done, your child will breathe just oxygen for a little bit to clean out any gas and will have no lingering drowsiness from the nitrous oxide. Sometimes, nitrous oxide can cause nausea so we may encourage only a small meal or snack before any nitrous appointment. 

If your little one needs dental treatment that may take a while or is restless or nervous in the dental chair, talk with your pediatric dentist in Spring about how we can help. We’re always accepting new patients and would be happy to help!