Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is very common and the most frequently used method for easing mild to moderate anxiety in children. Administered through a small mask that fits over your child’s nose, it is an effective way to calm anxiety. Your child will be asked to breathe through his or her nose and not through their mouth. This will allow your child to become calm and relaxed, he or she will still be fully conscious with all reflexes, and able to talk with the dentist.
At the end of your child’s appointment, he or she will resume breathing regular oxygen, and all the effects of nitrous oxide will disappear as the appointment comes to an end. They are able to go back to school and/or resume their daily activities. As your child gets older and becomes more comfortable during dental visits, nitrous oxide may not be necessary. The Canadian Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, recognizes this technique as a very safe, effective technique to use for treating children’s dental needs.