Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)

Nitrous Oxide is an odorless, non-irritating, colorless gas which you can breathe through your nose during your surgery.

Nitrous Oxide has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. Nitrous oxide is safe for most all patients. 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.

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 relieving properties develop.
  • As opposed to IV and general anesthesia, you do not have to fast prior to your procedure (although it is advise to avoid a heavy meal) and you may drive home after the effects of the nitrous oxide wear off in the office.

Reasons to not use Nitrous Oxide

You should not utilize Nitrous Oxide if you are pregnant. Though there are no other major contraindications to using nitrous oxide, you may not want to use it if you have a cold or other difficulties with breathing.

The effects of nitrous oxide can make some people feel uncomfortable, although one of the benefits of this technique is that you can decide to have it turned off and the effects wear off soon after.