Does Laughing Gas Work At The Dentist?

Monday December 12, 2016 by
Melissa Brown, DDS

Laughing gas is useful for alleviating pain and anxiety. For that reason, we use it for a variety of dental procedures, particularly if a patient is experiencing a lot of fear. If you have an upcoming dental procedure you’re feeling anxious about, just ask if we can use nitrous oxide. Most patients are good candidates for inhalation sedation.

What is Laughing Gas Used for?

Unfortunately, dental anxiety keeps many people from visiting their dentist for much-needed work. If you’re one of them, you’ll be happy to know that laughing gas can help you feel comfortable and relaxed. While the term “laughing gas” may call to mind cartoon-like hijinks, it’s actually a highly effective sedation option that keeps patients calm during dental procedures.

What Is Laughing Gas?

Laughing gas is commonly known by many names including inhalation sedation, nitrous, and nitrous oxide. It is a colorless, odorless, non-irritating gas that—when combined with oxygen—helps patients to feel more at ease during dental procedures.

How Is Laughing Gas Administered?

We have happy news for our patients who fear needles—laughing gas is administered with a mask. When you come in for a dental procedure that requires laughing gas, a mask will be gently placed over your nose. Then, you’ll just breathe as you normally would. You’ll begin feeling the effects of the gas within just a few minutes.

Is Laughing Gas Safe?

Nitrous oxide has a long history. It was discovered over 150 years ago , and it’s one of the most widely used dental anesthetics. Nitrous oxide is safe and effective—so much so, it’s often used during pediatric dentistry.

Unlike some other methods of sedation, the effects of nitrous oxide are not long-lasting. While the gas goes to work immediately during your procedure, once the mask is removed, the effects wear off within minutes. In fact, nitrous oxide is the only form of sedation where patients are allowed to drive after the procedure and eat within 12 hours.

What Will I Experience If I Have a Dental Procedure Done with Laughing Gas?

When you’re sedated with laughing gas, you’ll remember little from the procedure. Generally, patients who have been given laughing gas experience:

  • Warm, tingling sensations, particularly in the arms and legs
  • Feelings of well-being and euphoria; patients may feel as if they’re floating
  • Sleepiness and difficulty keeping their eyes open

Because of those warm, positive sensations, our patients find nitrous oxide is excellent for helping them overcome fear and anxiety during dental procedures.

Contact Murray Hill Dental for more information on laughing gas, or to schedule your next sedation dentistry appointment.