What Is Nitrous Oxide
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Nitrous oxide, known more commonly as laughing gas, is a colorless gas that we administer through a nosepiece during dental exams, cleanings, and treatments. There’s a reason it’s called laughing gas – it can invoke a feeling of euphoria, or maybe even bring on a fit of the giggles!
In use in dentistry since the mid-1800s, nitrous oxide can help you relax enough to more easily tolerate dental visits. For some people, the anesthetic effect is strong enough that we don’t need to give them Novocain for restorative dental work (such as fillings). For the majority of patients, however, nitrous oxide is used in conjunction with Novocain.
Here’s how nitrous oxide will work: We’ll have you wear a nosepiece, which delivers a gas that has a slightly sweet odor and taste. You’ll breathe normally through your nose, and within a few minutes, you should begin to feel the effects of the nitrous oxide.
You might start to feel slightly light-headed. You might also feel a slight tingling in your arms and legs and/or the sensation that your limbs are becoming heavy. For most people, though, the overriding feeling from laughing gas is one of calmness and also relaxation.
You’ll be awake the whole time you’re receiving nitrous oxide, able to ask and answer questions and respond to our commands, but you may feel as if you’re in an altered state.
Once the dental procedure is over, and we’ve turned off the nitrous oxide, we’ll deliver 100% oxygen to you through the nosepiece, and in a few minutes, all of the effects of the nitrous oxide should wear off.
Is nitrous oxide right for you – is it enough? We can talk about that during a free consultation! In the dental consultation, you can inform us about your dental history, as well as your overall health history, and we then can outline the benefits of all three levels of sedation dentistry that we offer (nitrous oxide, conscious sedation, and IV sedation).
Please note: We do offer laughing gas for cleanings.
For more information about nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or to schedule a free dental consultation or appointment, please call or e-mail the dental office that’s near you: