Nitrous Oxide - Laughing Gas

Nitrous Oxide 101

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is an odorless and colorless gas that is famously known as the laughing gas. This gas has analgesic and anesthetic properties. It can relieve and block pain and can induce a feeling of being “high” that makes you want to laugh. Hence, the name laughing gas.  During dental procedures, nitrous oxide relaxes the patient and dispels anxiety but aware enough to respond to the dentist.

Inhalation Sedation

In dentistry, inhalation is the most used method in sedation. There are no shots required, no allergy tests, or any other actions before the patient’s appointment.

During your visit to your dentist, if you are feeling a little bit nervous and anxious, a simple inhalation will do the trick. This will distract you from your feelings of nervousness. Good thing that there is no need for a pill to be taken since this enables you to save time. Oral medications can make you feel groggy for the rest of the day after your doctor’s visit. You have to rest it out until the medication wears off. In inhalation sedation, the effects are very short and you can be up and about in just a while.

What to Expect

A mask or nasal cannula on your nose will carry the laughing gas to you. The amount that you inhale will depend on the level of sedation that your dentist requires. After the procedure is done, the mask or cannula will be removed and the gas is turned off. You can go home like nothing’s happened and you will be able to drive as well. You do not need someone to come and get you.

Advantages of Nitrous Oxide

There are many advantages of using nitrous oxide which is why this is preferred in dentistry.

  • Gas can reach the brain in just 20 seconds after inhaling it.
  • The patient gets relaxed and no pain is felt after 2 – 3 minutes. Your procedure can start on time.
  • The gas flow can be easily adjusted.
  • Underdose and overdose are not risks for nitrous oxide.
  • This calms the patient down.
  • There are very few side effects but there are no reports about damage of nitrous oxide to the major body organs.
  • Operation on soft tissues can be very painful. Laughing gas can be a very good painkiller during various procedures.
  • Laughing gas leaves residual symptoms and the patient is as alert as he first came in.