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What’s up with Laughing Gas?

Dec 1, 2018

(Photo from Accutron, Inc)

One of our most helpful tools in pediatric dentistry is Nitrous Oxide, more commonly known as laughing gas. Nitrous oxide can be beneficial for any pediatric patient, but is especially helpful for children with anxiety, sensory issues, short attention spans, and even those with strong gag reflexes.  It is a mild sedative gas with a faint, pleasant aroma. When properly inhaled, it allows for your child to experience calmness and comfort.  Your child is awake the entire procedure (it does not put kids to sleep!), and while some kids may giggle with it, most tend to just enter a simple state of relaxation.

The calming effect of nitrous oxide allows our patients to maintain an appropriate level of stillness so that we can carry out procedures (like fillings!) in a safe, effective manner. It even lengthens their attention spans so that they can sit for the entirety of the visit without losing focus. As pediatric dentists, our goal is to alleviate fear and replace it with pleasant experiences. Nitrous oxide is one tool (of many) that helps us achieve this.

Pediatric dentists have an additional two to three years of training beyond dental school, where we learn to master the ins and outs of treating children in a healthy, safe, and effective manner. If you have any questions about nitrous oxide and its use, please call our office or stop in to ask!

Sources: AAPD Guidelines, Use of Nitrous Oxide for Pediatric Dental Patients. 2018.

© 2014 Dr. Jennifer Fountain, DDS.
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