Nitrous Oxide “Laughing Gas”

Nitrous Oxide / Oxygen Inhalation “Laughing Gas” is one of the most common medication used to treat mild anxiety and apprehension people experience with dental treatment. Nitrous oxide is a sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas mixed with oxygen that is inhaled through a small silicone mask placed over your nose. The effects of nitrous oxide are to help produce a feeling of well being (euphoria), relaxation and comfort. Some patients will experience a sensation of heaviness, warmth, tingling or a feeling of vibration in the extremities. Some patients may also experience auditory effects in which their hearing may dissolve into a constant electronic like hum.

There are many advantages to using Nitrous Oxide

  • It is extremely safe with no side effects on your heart and lungs.
  • The sedative effects are titrated to a persons individual needs and may be altered at any time during the procedure.
  • There is no after effect such as a “hangover”.
  • Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging.
  • It works rapidly, in as little as 2-3 minutes its sedation and relaxation properties develop.
  • It wears off quickly, typically within 5-10 minutes.  If the only sedative medication used was nitrous oxide a patient may drive themselves home after their dental appointment. 

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.