Rationale and pre-requisites for use of nitrous oxide in pediatric dentistry


Dental fear and anxiety pose a major challenge in rendering dental treatment for children. It becomes difficult to communicate with an anxious or fearful child, which is essential to build trust and rapport with the dentist. Pain threshold is also lowered in a child who is fearful or anxious making it even more difficult for a dentist to deal with the child. Therefore, understanding fear/anxiety, their manifestations and management is the key step in creating an environment of harmony between the child and the dentist. Nitrous oxide, being anxiolytic, is used in dentistry for allaying fear and anxiety, thereby creating a positive feeling, which in turn helps in building a positive dental attitude. Therefore, nitrous oxide is also considered as a behavior guidance technique. Besides reducing fear and anxiety it also has other advantages. In addition, to practice this technique effectively and safely, it is imperative to understand the indications and contraindications of its use.

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Correspondence to Kunal Gupta.

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Gupta, K., Ritwik, P. Rationale and pre-requisites for use of nitrous oxide in pediatric dentistry. Clin Dent Rev 5, 2 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41894-020-00090-y

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  • Nitrous oxide
  • Anxiolysis
  • Behavior guidance
  • Dental fear
  • Dental anxiety
  • Indications/contraindications of nitrous oxide
  • Advantages/disadvantages of nitrous oxide
  • Inhalation sedation