Call or Text: 949.767.3925

  30492 Gateway Pl #220

Rancho Mission Viejo, CA 92694

 Call or Text: 949.767.3925

  30492 Gateway Pl #220 Rancho Mission Viejo, CA 92694

Nitrous Oxide for Your Child

For some children, going to the dentist can be stressful and cause anxiety or fear. At SOCO, we offer a few various levels of sedation for children, which can make the experience more comfortable. The most common, and safest, option of sedation in pediatric dentistry is nitrous oxide, also called laughing gas. For kids, this is a reliable and practical option with few side effects. The most common side effect is nausea and vomiting but those symptoms are quickly reversible as the gas wears off.  We also put children to sleep with general anaesthesia but reserve this option after failed attempts with nitrous oxide as this option comes with more serious side effects.

Indications for use of laughing gas include:

 1. a fearful or anxious patient.

2. patients with special health care needs.

3. a patient whose gag reflex interferes with dental care.

4. when local anaesthesia cannot be obtained.

5. a cooperative child undergoing a lengthy dental procedure

Most children are enthusiastic about laughing gas; many children report feeling a tingling or warm sensation.


It is best, to be honest and use clear language with them to prepare them for what they might feel.

Objectively, children may appear with their hands open, legs limp, and a trancelike expression. Nitrous oxide is absorbed rapidly, allowing for both rapid onset and recovery (two to three minutes). It causes minimal impairment of any reflexes, thus protecting the cough reflex. However, for the drug to work the child must be breathing through their nose and not excessively crying.

Once the procedure is over, the child will breathe 100% oxygen and should be able to walk out of the room and be back to normal in minutes.

Fasting is not required before but a big meal is also discouraged.

As each child is different, your dentist will review your child’s health history and determine the best method of sedation for you and your family.

But the bottom line is – laughing gas is incredibly safe and effective for children.

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