Inhalation gas sedation, is a technique used to reduce anxiety and pain during medical procedures in children.

This technique is used especially for children who cannot be sedated by injection, and for children who need to be conscious during the procedure.

In this article, we take a closer look at inhalation in children, as well as the benefits and risks associated with this technique.

Although in recent decades, increasingly ‘child-friendly’ materials and instruments have steadily emerged for young patients, a large proportion of them continue to be reluctant to undergo check-ups and treatments in the dentist’s office.

Whether they have experienced traumatic treatments in the past, a lack of patience on the part of the doctor or a seemingly unjustified fear, children’s oral hygiene must be maintained and treatments carried out early to prevent complications from developing.

Despite progress, anesthesia continues to cause anxiety among children. Needles, although gentle and atraumatic, induce a state of panic in young children.

Dentistry has thus turned its attention to reducing patients’ anxiety.

Inhalation, which relaxes the patient, has emerged as an alternative to neurosedative premedication, which has side effects.

The objectives of nitrous oxide inhalation are to reduce anxiety in both young and adult patients, to increase comfort and to facilitate the therapeutic process.

It is a time-saving method that can be performed in about 5 minutes. The gas, nitrous oxide, has a rapid sedative effect, is gradually eliminated by the respiratory tract, produces no side effects and does not inhibit laryngeal reflexes.

Indications for inhalation sedation

Children and young people with phobias during dental treatment – patients must be in good general condition. Also, in patients with cognitive problems, depending on the degree of disability the effectiveness of nitrous oxide may be limited.

Emergency situations – nitrous oxide may be used in patients presenting with pain to relieve symptoms. As a result, the patient becomes more cooperative to institute the treatment plan.

All types of interventions – inhalation is widely applicable and is indicated in all interventions as long as it reduces the patient’s anxiety. Nitrous oxide induces surface analgesia but local anesthesia should also be performed.

Absolute contraindications to inhalation

Patients with respiratory or cardiac pathologies who need oxygen ventilation during maneuvers

Altered state of consciousness

Intracranial hypertension

Pathologies of the respiratory system such as pneumothorax, bullous emphysema or gas embolism

Trauma of the facial bone mass creating a communication between the oral cavity and the external environment after application of the nitrous oxide mask

Patients should also tell their dentist if they suffer from any of the following conditions, which require caution when taking nitrous oxide:

In case of bronchitis, severe cough, sinusitis, otitis or respiratory virus manifested by a stuffy nose, the inhalation session should be postponed to a later date, after the patient has recovered.

If the patient is also given other drugs, especially to treat psychosis, there is a risk of dissociation between substances. The patient should mention any other treatment to be aware of possible side effects.

In the case of renal or hepatic impairment, side effects should also be considered, and the choice of whether or not to carry out the treatment under inhalation should also be discussed by the anesthetist.

One of the main factors that make inhalation preferred over other sedation techniques in children is that it can be administered quickly and easily.

This is because the anesthetic gas is inhaled through a mask, so the patient can start breathing immediately after the mask is applied.

In addition, the inhalation can be quickly adjusted according to the patient’s individual needs.

Although inhalation can be an effective method of sedation in children, there are risks associated with this technique.

For example, there may be an increased risk of bronchospasm, especially in children with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

There is also a risk that the patient may not respond to sedation or remain conscious during the procedure, which can lead to anxiety and discomfort.

However, inhalation is generally considered a safe and effective method of sedation in children.

One of the major advantages of this technique is that there is no risk of side effects from injectable anesthetics, and the patient can be monitored in real time during the procedure.

In addition, inhalation can be used in a wide range of medical procedures in children, including minor dental and surgical procedures. This technology can reduce the anxiety and pain associated with such procedures and help increase patient compliance, allowing doctors to perform procedures more efficiently.

In conclusion, inhalation is an important technology for reducing anxiety and pain during medical procedures in children. Although there are risks associated with this technique, inhalation is generally considered a safe and effective method of sedation in children.

To minimize the risks associated with inhalation, it is important that it is administered by well-trained medical staff and only used in appropriately selected patients.

It is also important that patients are closely monitored during the procedure to ensure that inhalation is effective and that there are no side effects.

In terms of the benefits of inhalation, it can significantly reduce children’s anxiety and pain, which can lead to a more pleasant and less traumatic experience for them. Furthermore, inhalation can help reduce recovery time, so children can return to their normal activities more quickly after the procedure.

In addition to these benefits, inhalation can also be more convenient and less invasive than other methods of sedation, such as sedation by injection. For example, children who need multiple medical procedures can benefit from inhalation because it can be administered quickly and easily without the need for multiple injections.


Inhalation is an important and useful technology for reducing anxiety and pain during medical procedures in children. However, it is important to consider both the benefits and risks associated with this technique, and to ensure that it is administered in a safe and effective way. By using inhalation judiciously and responsibly, doctors can help improve children’s experience during medical procedures and reduce the stress and anxiety associated with them.

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