Nitrous oxide-oxygen or oral midazolam for pediatric outpatient sedation

Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2002 Jun;93(6):643-6. doi: 10.1067/moe.2002.124763.


Objective: A total of 1112 pediatric outpatient sedations, by either nitrous oxide-oxygen inhalation (N2O) or oral midazolam, administered over a 10-year period were reviewed. Patient responses and outcomes were evaluated to ascertain the safety of these sedation techniques.

Study design: A total of 819 patients were included in this study. Patient health status, age, weight, behavior, treatment rendered, and length of treatment were recorded. Vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation) were recorded for the N2O group. Complications and successful completion of treatment were also noted.

Results: Both the N2O and midazolam groups demonstrated a low complication rate with a high rate of successful completion of treatment. Patients receiving N2O were somewhat older on average and underwent a greater number of surgical procedures than patients in the midazolam group. Vital signs recorded in the N2O group were observed to remain stable throughout treatment.

Conclusions: The use of either oral midazolam or nitrous oxide-oxygen as single agents provides safe and effective conscious sedation in the pediatric outpatient population.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures
  • Anesthesia, Dental / methods*
  • Anesthetics, Inhalation / administration & dosage*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Conscious Sedation / methods*
  • Dental Care for Children*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Midazolam / administration & dosage*
  • Nitrous Oxide / administration & dosage*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Safety
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anesthetics, Inhalation
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Midazolam