Focused children respond best to nitrous oxide

nitrous oxideChildren who are better able to focus on a task respond more successfully to nitrous oxide at the dentist.

That’s according to a new study published in Anesthesia Progress, which looked into how willing a child is to cooperate during a dental procedure.

Specifically the study looked into the use of laughing gas (nitrous oxide) to see whether it could free children from anxiety and fear of the dentist.

Researchers looked at 48 patients from three to eight years old and used questionnaires and charts to assess behaviour and sedation success during a dental visit.


The study found that the success of nitrous oxide varies widely depending on the ‘type’ of child.

Children who scored highly in the category ‘effortful control’, those that were able to focus and become more absorbed in a task, have the best ability to control negative reactions, the study concluded.

‘It appears that children who are able to focus on a task and inhibit negative reactions are likely to be good candidates for treatment with nitrous oxide,’ said lead-author Travis M. Nelson.

To read the whole article ‘Temperament as a Predictor of Nitrous Oxide Inhalation Sedation Success,’ visit

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