The use of happy gas in children
Nitrous oxide also known as “laughing gas” is a safe, mild sedating that helps children remain relaxed during dental procedures.
It is administered with the use of a “mask on the nose” that are often scented to make the otherwise odourless gas more acceptable. The gas is a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide that can easily be changed to achieve an appropriate and safe level of sedation for your child. The mask remains in place until the end of the procedure.
Your child is awake during the entire procedure and may feel like they are floating. While some children laugh, others either tend to become chatty or quite relaxed. When the procedure is complete, the child breathes pure oxygen to ensure the complete elimination of the nitrous oxide from the system.
We often ask that your child eats something light and non-dairy based about one hour before the procedure (e.g. a slice of toast and Vegemite or jam).
The use of laughing gas is a useful technique for children who are anxious but cooperative. An uncooperative child will often not allow a mask over the nose. The use of nitrous oxide is dependent on a number of factors including the child’s age, temperament and ability to communicate; often acceptance of the mask is the greatest challenge.
The ability to accept treatment in the chair with happy gas is assessed and discussed extensively with parents and carers during the initial consultation visit.