Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)

Nitrous Oxide is a sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which you can breathe.

Nitrous Oxide has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years.  Nitrous oxide is safe.  The patient receives mostly oxygen mixed with 30-50% nitrous oxide through a nose mask.

The patient is able to breathe on his 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 the 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 are no side effects like a “hangover”.
  • Inhalation sedation is safe for your heart and lungs, etc.
  • Inhalation sedation is effective in controlling gagging.
  • It works rapidly as it reaches the brain within 20 seconds.  In as little as 2 to 3 minutes, relaxation and pain killing properties develop.

Reasons to not use Nitrous Oxide

You should not use 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, bronchitis, congestion, or other difficulties with breathing.

You may want to ask your dentist for a “5 minute trial” to see how you feel with this type of sedation method before proceeding.