3 Common Questions About Laughing Gas and Their Answers

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Laughing gas is the common term for Nitrous Oxide. It acts as a sedating agent that is mixed with oxygen. During a dental procedure, your child inhales the laughing gas through a small mask that fits over your nose.

Laughing gas is used to help a dental patient relax while reducing pain and anxiety during dental treatment. Your child’s dentist may offer to use laughing gas to make him or her more comfortable and at ease during certain dental procedures. Do not worry as kids usually recover quickly from the effects of the laughing gas after their dental treatment has been completed.

How does it work?

For dental treatment, laughing gas will basically have the following effects on your child:

1. It will reduce your child’s anxiety, taking away the fear.

2. It will remove any pain so that your child will not feel any hurt during the procedure.

3. It will create euphoria, so your child will feel extra happy and calm.

First, your child’s dentist will administer nitrous oxide through a mask. Then, your child will be asked to breathe normally through the nose. After a few minutes, your child will begin to feel its effects and will begin to become more relaxed. Your child may also feel light-headed or may have a tingling sensation or heaviness in the arms and legs.

Once the procedure is done, the supply of the laughing gas will be turned off. Your child will continue to receive oxygen through the mask for at least another five minutes to avoid a headache. The inhaled oxygen will help remove any remaining nitrous oxide from the lungs. When the laughing gas wears off, your child will be alert again.

Is Will laughing gas really make my child laugh?

Some dental patients, including children, experience euphoria, or intense happiness and excitement when they receive the laughing gas. But instead of the euphoric feeling and laughter, laughing gas will more likely make your child calm, relaxed, and a little dizzy.

Is it safe for my child?

Laughing gas is safe and effective as a dental sedating method. Not only is it safe for kids, but laughing gas is also a preferred method used by pediatric dentists as dental sedation for various procedures. Your child will remain awake throughout the procedure although in some cases, children will fall asleep as they feel more calm and relaxed. Children also normally recover fast from the effects of the laughing gas. Your child will already be up and about before you even leave the pediatric dental clinic.

There are a few instances when some kids will feel nauseous and experience difficulty in wearing the mask. Some dental patients, on the other hand, experience mental confusion, headache, sleepiness, sweating, and numbing of legs.

If these symptoms somehow discourage you from allowing your child to be sedated through the laughing gas, talk to your child’s dentist for other options. You will need to give consent before your child will be given any sedation.

It is important to note that not all children need laughing gas or any sedation for dental procedures. If your child is already comfortable and familiar with his or her pediatric dentist and dental office, it will be beneficial for when dental procedures are to be done since there will be less anxiety and fear. Distraction techniques and play therapy are also helpful alternatives for kids. In some instances, laughing gas is not advisable to use. Hence, parents will work with the dentists to decide which best alternative to use.

Sources:

What Does Laughing Gas Do To A Dental Patient?, Colgate https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/procedures/anesthesia/what-does-laughing-gas-do-0117

Nitrous Oxide, MouthHealthy.org by American Dental Association https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/n/nitrous-oxide

Use of Nitrous Oxide for Pediatric Dental Patients, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry https://www.aapd.org/media/Policies_Guidelines/BP_UseofNitrous.pdf

Sedation (nitrous oxide) for Dental Procedures, The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Sedation_nitrous_oxide_for_dental_procedures/

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