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Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)

Medical professionals have been using laughing gas, also known as nitrous oxide, for years as an effective form of conscious sedation. As its name implies, laughing gas can give you a serious case of the giggles, which is a welcome relief for those who suffer from dental anxiety. Nitrous oxide is commonly used for both children and adult patients, and is perhaps the safest form of sedation dentistry. The euphoric effects of this colorless, odorless gas are immediate, meaning patients are able to relax and feel comfortable through a variety of treatments and procedures.

Nitrous oxide for dental procedures

Laughing gas is a mild sedative, and doesn’t put you to sleep like other forms of deeper anesthesia. Once inhaled, it usually triggers a dream-like, happy state along with sensations of tingling or floating. Patients feel lightheaded and slightly detached from the procedure taking place, but are still fully conscious and able to answer questions as needed.

Nitrous oxide for dental use is well-tolerated by people of all ages. Laughing gas is mixed with Oxygen and administered with a small mask over the face. The calming and sedative effects kick in right away, and for the majority of people, it makes time in the dentist’s chair pass quickly.

Laughing gas can be an excellent sedation option for young children who cannot sit still for lengthy procedures, patients with strong dental phobias, and those with disabilities.

Benefits of laughing gas for dental sedation

The calming and euphoric effects of nitrous oxide wear off within 3-5 minutes after the mask is removed. Unlike other forms of sedation, which can leave patients feeling mildly nauseous, laughing gas has minimal after effects, meaning patients can drive themselves home or return to work after the dental procedure. Another advantage is that nitrous oxide can be given for the exact time period it is needed for, and the dose can be adjusted to enhance pain-relieving effects.

Nitrous oxide for dental work helps to:

  • Alleviate anxiety
  • Reduce gag reflexes
  • Allow communication and patient cooperation
  • Increase pain thresholds for a stress-free experience
  • Increase tolerance for multiple procedures
  • Enable proper treatment for special needs patients

Studies have demonstrated the safety of laughing gas in pediatric and adult patients; however, the use of nitrous oxide dental sedation may be contraindicated in some cases. Alert your dentist or oral surgeon if you are pregnant, have a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, upper respiratory tract infections, or are deficient in Vitamin B12, cobalamin, or methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase.

Sedation dentistry in Bucks County

Nitrous oxide in dental work is safe, fast-acting, and helps those with anxiety feel comfortable and calm during oral surgery or routine treatments. Laughing gas helps your mind wander to happy places and –best of all – there are no needles involved! To learn more about sedation dentistry techniques here at Innovative Implant and Oral Surgery, reach out to schedule an appointment at our Feasterville, or Newtown offices.

Additional Resources:

  1. Colgate, What Does Laughing Gas Do To A Dental Patient?
  2. Mouth, Nitrous Oxide


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