Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)

Nitrous oxide, which has been referred to as “laughing gas,” is a mild sedative that is delivered through the nose in gas form and has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years.

Nitrous oxide is safe, sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which can elevate the mood within a few minutes of being administered to the patient.

Patients are awake and coherent during their appointment, but they are relaxed and anxiety-free. The patient is able to breathe on their own and remain in control of all bodily functions.The patient may experience mild amnesia and may fall asleep, not remembering all of what happened during their appointment.

Nitrous oxide can also be used to reduce pain during dental procedures. Nitrous oxide can be administered quickly and oxygen can be given to bring the patient back to their normal state. Patients can then drive back to work, home, or school after their appointment.

There are many advantages to using Nitrous Oxide

  • The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation.
  • There is no after effect such as a “hangover”.
  • Inhalation sedation is safe with no side effects on your heart and lungs, etc.
  • Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging.
  • It works rapidly as it reaches the brain within 20 seconds. In as little as 2-3 minutes its relaxation and pain killing properties develop.

Reasons to not use Nitrous Oxide

You should not utilize Nitrous Oxide if you have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Though there are no other major contraindications to using nitrous oxide, you may not want to use it if you have emphysema, exotic chest problems, M.S., a cold or other difficulties with breathing.