Current status of nitrous oxide as a behavior management practice routine in pediatric dentistry

Nicholas J Levering, Jos V M Welie

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


Nitrous oxide (N(2)O) as a behavioral management intervention in children has attained an excellent safety record and is, therefore, used widely. As is true of any diagnostic or therapeutic dental intervention, however, its usage merits periodic review, even if-or particularly when-it is routinely applied. For example, when N(2)O is used in combination with other sedatives, such polypharmacy can produce potentially serious side effects. There are also bioenvironmental risks to patients and staff if ambient air is not properly monitored. Using historical publications, current empirical articles, professional usage policies, and educational textbooks, the purpose of this article was to review indications and contraindications of N(2)O and discuss various factors that should or should not be considered about its use in the United States. Even though today's parents may be more accepting of pharmacologic approaches such as N(2)O, the choice to use it should always be made with the child's best interest in mind.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-30
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Dentistry for Children
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Anesthesia, Dental/adverse effects
  • Anesthetics, Inhalation/adverse effects
  • Behavior Control/methods
  • Child
  • Conscious Sedation/adverse effects
  • Dental Care for Children
  • Humans
  • Nitrous Oxide/adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure/adverse effects
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Risk Assessment

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