Nitrous oxide

Children who are very young or who have a high level of anxiety that interferes with the cooperation necessary for safe and effective treatment may benefit from what is known as “laughing gas” or “ice-cream air.”

Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases, nitrous oxide and oxygen. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is given through a small breathing mask which is placed over the child’s nose, allowing the child to relax, but without putting to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognizes this technique as a very safe, effective adjunct to use for treating children’s dental needs. The gas is mild, easily taken in, and is quickly eliminated from the body after treatment. While inhaling nitrous oxide/oxygen, your child remains fully conscious and keeps all natural reflexes. See below for examples of Dr. John Yoo‘s patients receiving treatment with “ice cream air.”

Nitrous oxide is most helpful for:

  • Highly anxious children
  • Children who have had frequent or traumatic dental experiences (sound and smell aversion)
  • Children with strong gag reflexes