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Nitrous Oxide

Colloquially termed “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is a mild, gaseous sedative that helps patients relax and has been used in dentistry for children for hundreds of years. Laughing gas is rapid-onset and easy to administer, which makes it particularly helpful for many young patients. Dr. Heba Rashed offers nitrous oxide and other sedation dentistry methods for patients undergoing any pediatric dentistry services.

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What is nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide is a safe, odorless, and naturally-occurring gas formed from two nitrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Typically, dentists mix nitrous oxide with oxygen when administered in sleep dentistry (also known as sedation dentistry).

How is nitrous oxide administered?

Unlike IV sedation dentistry, you can expect zero needles or hard-to-swallow pills with nitrous oxide. Instead, our laughing gas dentist safely administers a combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen through a nasal hood comfortably placed on the child’s face. We pair this gas with a familiar and fun scent (like bubblegum or watermelon) to make laughing gas even more enjoyable for young patients.

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How will my child feel on laughing gas?

Because nitrous oxide is in gas form, it is fast-acting and instantly hits the bloodstream. Nitrous oxide is a depressant, which means that it slows the body down. When the laughing gas takes effect, your child might feel:

  • Giggly (hence the nickname “laughing gas”)
  • Happy
  • Euphoric
  • Relaxed
  • Mildly light-headed

Nitrous oxide is one of the mildest forms of sedation and won’t put your child fully to sleep. Once the effects kick in, your child will still be able to answer questions and follow instructions throughout the procedure.

Plus, this sedation dentistry method offers little to no recovery tie. Laughing gas wears off quickly once the young patient stops breathing in the gas. After your child undergoes a procedure with laughing gas, then they can return to school, sports practice, or other activities you have planned on treatment day.

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Who could benefit from nitrous oxide?

While laughing gas might benefit just about any individual, this type of easily-administered sedation dentistry is especially beneficial for:

  • Special needs dentistry
  • Patients who are dealing with dental anxiety and extreme dental phobia
  • Patients with a severe gag reflex
  • Patients with disabilities
  • Patients undergoing dental procedures (like a tooth removal or a dental emergency)
  • Walk-in dentist appointments

Is nitrous oxide safe?

Nitrous oxide is not only safe, but in some cases, your sedation dentist might encourage it. For instance, if your child has a severe gag reflex, dentist Dr. Rashed might suggest easing discomfort with nitrous oxide.

When used infrequently and under medical care, laughing gas has no long-term side effects. Although children might develop a headache, feel nauseous, or agitated after removing the laughing gas mask, these adverse effects are incredibly rare. In fact, only about 5% of patients experience negative side effects.

Nitrous Oxide Dentist in Lorton, VA

When administered by an oral health professional, nitrous oxide is not only safe but can help children cope during dental appointments. Learn about nitrous oxide dental appointments and other pain-free dentistry options by calling (703) 688-2155 or messaging us online.

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