Is laughing gas safe?
Nitrous Oxide (N2O), commonly called "Laughing Gas" is one of the safest forms of sedation available to alleviate anxiety during dental procedures.
How does laughing gas affect patients?
It is simply a gas, which you breathe in through a small personal mask. Nitrous Oxide is colorless gas which decreases pain sensitivity and gives the patient a sense of decreased proximity to the dental experience. It is sweet-smelling, and nonirritating. The onset of the effects of nitrous oxide is felt within minutes, and these effects wear off soon after the mask is removed. The patient begins to feel a pleasant level of sedation in anywhere from 30 seconds to three or four minutes. The cheeks and gums will also begin to feel numb in about a third of the patients. This means you are 100% ready to independently carry on your life after the use of nitrous oxide.
After the gas is adjusted to the appropriate dose, and the patient is relaxed and sedated, the dentist can comfortably give the anesthetic injection (if needed) to the patient, and then proceed with the dental treatment. After the treatment is completed, the patient is given pure oxygen to breathe for about five minutes, and all the effects of the sedation are usually reversed. Unlike sedation or general anesthesia, the patient can almost always leave the office by themselves, without an escort.
What if I'm very sensitive to sedation?
Almost anyone can have nitrous oxide treatment. We can vary the depth of sedation depending on your level of anxiety. Nitrous oxide gas also tends to reduce gag reflexes and saliva flow. Most importantly, you will bask in a feeling of relaxation while breathing nitrous oxide gas as we care for you.
What should I know before using laughing gas?
As a precaution, patients should not eat anything for about two hours prior to use of the gas. Nitrous oxide has few side effects although high doses can cause nausea in some patients, and about 10% of patients do not benefit from it. Patients that are claustrophobic or have blocked nasal passages cannot use nitrous oxide effectively. Nitrous oxide is one of the safest anesthetics available.