Nitrous Oxide

Our office has specialized training in caring for infants, children and teens. Our team is committed to treating your child in the safest most effective way possible. Our team may recognize that your child seems nervous before or during treatment and recommend a way to help make your child’s dental appointment more comfortable.


Q: What is nitrous oxide/oxygen?

Often referred to as “ laughing gas”, is a blend of two gases – oxygen and nitrous oxide. It is breathed in through the child’s nose and has a calming effect. At the end of the appointment, the nitrous leaves the body after a few minutes and breaths of fresh air.

Q: How will my child feel when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen?

The nitrous oxide/oxygen will smell sweet. We let the child pick from several fun “flavors” including strawberry, cotton candy, cookie dough. After just a few minutes your child will experience a sense of calm relaxation. If the sights, sounds or sensations of dental treatment worry your child, he or she may have a more positive dental experience with the use of nitrous oxide/oxygen.

Q: How safe is nitrous oxide/oxygen?

Very Safe! Nitrous oxide/oxygen is perhaps the safest in office sedative in dentistry. It is non- addictive. It is mild, easily taken, and quickly eliminated by the body. Your child remains awake when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen.

Q: Are there any special instructions for nitrous oxide/oxygen?

First, don’t eat a large meal before the dental visit (occasionally, nausea or vomiting occurs when a child has a full stomach). Second, tell Dr. Cara about any flu, cold, runny nose, or asthma symptoms that make breathing through the nose difficult for your child. This may make the nitrous less effective.

Q: How much does nitrous oxide/oxygen cost?

There is a $50 fee for each appointment that nitrous is used, much less than the cost of alternative in- office sedations. This fee is rarely covered by dental insurance plans. For some children the use of nitrous is optional, for other’s it is strongly recommended.

Q: Will nitrous oxide/oxygen work for all children?

Every service is tailored to your child as an individual. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is not useful for some children, especially those who have severe anxiety, nasal congestion, or extensive treatment needs. For these patients, Dr. Cara can discuss the risks and benefits of other sedation methods that may be appropriate for your child.