Skip to content Skip to footer

Understanding Inhalation Sedation: A Guide for Parents

What is Inhalation Sedation?
Inhalation sedation, often referred to as “funny air”, “laughing gas” or “nitrous oxide”, is a safe and effective way to manage anxiety in children undergoing dental procedures. It is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over your child’s nose, helping them feel relaxed without putting them to sleep.

Why is Inhalation Sedation Used?
Inhalation sedation is used to:
– Reduce or eliminate anxiety during dental procedures
– Increase tolerance for longer appointments
– Control gag reflex
– Make the treatment experience more comfortable for children

How Does Inhalation Sedation Work?
Your child will breathe a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen through a mask placed over their nose. Within a few minutes, they should start to feel more relaxed and less anxious. Your child will remain awake and able to talk and respond to verbal cues throughout the procedure, allowing the dentist to adjust the level of sedation as necessary.

Is Inhalation Sedation Safe?
Yes, inhalation sedation is considered very safe. Nitrous oxide is mild, non-irritating, and quickly eliminated from the body with normal breathing. It’s often preferred because it has a rapid onset, is reversible, can be adjusted in various concentrations, and does not require any injections.

What to Expect During the Visit
1. Preparation: Our team will explain the process to your child in a way they can understand, ensuring they are comfortable with the mask and the idea of the treatment.
2. During the Procedure: Your child will be asked to breathe normally through their nose. The effects of the sedation are usually felt within a few minutes.
3. After the Procedure: The effects of nitrous oxide wear off very quickly once the mask is removed. Your child will be given oxygen for a few minutes after the procedure to help flush any remaining gas. They can resume normal activities immediately after the appointment.

The Wand
This is our computerised local anaesthetic system that can be used in an injection free way. To find out more information you can see our information page here.

Before Your Child’s Appointment
– Make sure your child has only a light meal before the procedure, avoid anything too heavy to eat.
– If your child has a blocked nose/ is unable to breath through there nose please contact the clinic to rearrange.
– Wear loose comfortable clothing.
– Do not bring any other children or dependents to the appointment.

Post-Treatment Care
– Your child can resume normal activities and diet unless otherwise advised by the dentist.
– Monitor your child as usual to ensure they are feeling well after the procedure.

Safety and Side Effects
Side effects are rare, but a few children might feel light-headed or a bit nauseous. If these symptoms occur, they usually go away quickly with the administration of pure oxygen post-treatment.

Please contact us if you have any questions about inhalation sedation or your child’s dental care. We are committed to making your child’s dental experience as comfortable and safe as possible.

We can answer any questions through our clinic WhatsApp (07405134476) or by email (

Leave a comment

Lorna Breakenridge

Dental Nurse

Lorna qualified with an SVQ Level 7 in Dental Nursing from Mentor Training in 2021. Lorna says her favourite aspect of working in dentistry is being able to put people at ease and make them feel comfortable (you’ll definitely have heard her singing along to the radio if you’ve been in surgery with her).

She particularly enjoys working with children and helping them to overcome any fears they may have. In her spare time Lorna enjoys travelling, trying new foods and whilst she won’t admit it, she’s a karaoke queen (her rendition of The real Slim Shady is really something to behold).

She says her greatest achievement to date is passing her driving test at the start of 2023, much to the relief of her parents and Pam who were having to drive her to/from work every day.

Alicia Dillon

Dental Therapist

Alicia’s full bio will be ready shortly!


Hazel Hannigan


Hazel graduated with Honours from Glasgow Dental School in 2010, receiving the Dean Webster and Lord Provost prizes for being the highest performing student in her year. In 2012 she became a member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow after completing her MFDS examinations. 

She then spent some time in the public dental services, focussing on the treatment of children, anxious patients and those with additional support needs, before working as a general dental practitioner in practices based in Alexandria and Airdrie.

In July 2016, Hazel and her husband, Pearse, established Hannigan Dental Care, making the leap from associates to principal dentists. Hazel has lots of experience treating anxious patients, having logged hundreds of hours of sedation over her career, but she says she especially enjoys treating children, even more so since becoming a mum herself.

She believes forging good relationships with children as early as possible helps prevent dental anxieties ever developing and feels very lucky to be in a position where she can see families regularly and watch children grow and develop year on year. Out with clinical dentistry, Hazel is the vice chair of the Lanarkshire Local Dental Committee, and also holds seats on Lanarkshire’s GP Subcommittee and Area Dental Advisory Committee, groups which represent NHS dentists in communications with the health board and Scottish Government. Hazel’s hobbies include baking, reading and walking and one day she hopes to have some free time to actually practice them again.


John McCall


John qualified in Dentistry from the University of Glasgow with Commendation in 2018. His professional journey encompasses a broad spectrum of training within General Dental Practices, hospitals, and the Public Dental Service. 

These training roles included working in Paediatric Dentistry, Restorative Dentistry, Oral Surgery, and Maxillofacial Surgery. This diverse expertise enables him to deliver unparalleled care to his patients.

Since his graduation, John has been dedicated to treating anxious paediatric patients, leveraging advanced technologies such as “The Wand” for pain-free anaesthesia. His proficiency in this area has led him to provide valuable training and courses to both General Dental Practices and the Public Dental Service. Furthermore, for the past five years, John has been practicing Inhalation Sedation, contributing to his role as a mentor in sedation training for dental professionals.

His academic achievements include Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons and Physicians Glasgow and a Postgraduate Certificate in Dental Education. Currently, John serves as an Honorary Clinical Teacher in Paediatric Dentistry at the University of Glasgow, where he passionately guides future dentists in compassionate patient care. His contributions to dental education are complemented by his research published in the European Journal of Dental Education.

Beyond his professional life, John is a former elite track and field sprint hurdler and sprinter, having proudly represented and captained Scotland in international competitions and still holds Scottish and Celtic records over sprint hurdles. Although retired from competitive sports, he remains active, undertaking challenges for charity, such as the Ultra Marathon Spartan Race, and is preparing for the 70.3 Ironman triathlon in June 2024.