Nitrous oxide (N2O), more commonly referred to as “laughing gas,” is a mild sedative agent that safely and effectively manages pain and anxiety during dental treatment. The colorless and odorless nitrous oxide is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over your nose. Patients are asked to breathe normally and should feel the effects of the laughing gas within minutes.
Contrary to its name, laughing gas does not necessarily make you laugh. The nitrous oxide slows down your nervous system and makes you feel more relaxed. Ultimately, you should be calm and comfortable throughout the procedure. You might even giggle a time or two.
Dentists choose nitrous oxide because it is a safe and effective method for sedation. The laughing gas works quickly to relax patients, and the effects wear off quickly by breathing pure oxygen through a mask. Plus, the nitrous oxide does not put you to sleep, so you can hear and respond to any of the dentist’s questions or instructions. The effects of Nitrous Oxide wear off soon after the mask is removed, thus you can leave your appointment and drive back home.
Laughing gas can be a useful tool for easing anxiety and pain during dental procedures. Nitrous treatment is recommended for:
- Patients who are fearful, anxious, or uncooperative
- Patients with special health care needs
- Patients with gag reflexes that interfere with dental care
- Patients who do not respond adequately to local anesthesia
- Younger patients who must undergo lengthy dental procedures
If you think you might benefit from using nitrous oxide for your next appointment, please let us know.
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