What is Nitrous Oxide (Happy Air) and how can it help my child?

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous Oxide or “Happy Air” is a colorless and odorless gas that when inhaled has a calming effect. This is one of the most popular used forms of sedation in dentistry today especially in pediatric dentistry.  It does not “knock them out” or “put them to sleep” two concerns we often hear, rather, it helps to relieve anxiety and some discomfort and the doctor may administer nitrous oxide to your child at their appointment to help them relax. Most kids say they feel as if they are “floating” or their hands and feet are “tingling” when breathing in nitrous oxide.  At times, they feel so relaxed, they often fall asleep on their own.  It has a rapid onset and is rapidly eliminated from the body before the child is dismissed from the operatory. The effects of the gas are minimal and your child’s reflexes will remain intact.

The goals of nitrous oxide are as follows:

  • To reduce or eliminate discomfort and/or anxiety
  • To reduce unpleasantness of dental treatment
  • To enhance communication, behavior and cooperation
  • To increase tolerance for longer appointments
  • To reduce gag reflex

Nitrous Oxide has made dentistry easier for all; the patient, the parent, the doctors and the assistants in making your child’s dental treatment comfortable and easy.  Like Dr. Steve always says, “I wouldn’t be a Pediatric Dentist without it!”