Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas) is a sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which is breathed in to cause sedation.

Nitrous Oxide has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years.  It is a very safe method for sedation and suitable for adults and children.

You will not be asleep with nitrous oxide, it is primarily an anti-anxiety medication with some anesthetic properties as well.  It will make you feel relaxed and possibly a little drowsy during treatment.  The patient is able to breathe on their own and remain in control of all bodily functions.  

There are many advantages to using Nitrous Oxide

  • The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation.
  • There is no after effect such as a “hangover.”  5 minutes after you stop breathing it, it is out of your body and you can drive home by yourself.
  • Inhalation sedation is safe with no side effects on your heart and lungs, etc.
  • Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging.
  • It works rapidly as it reaches the brain within 20 seconds. In as little as 2-3 minutes its relaxation and pain killing properties develop.  

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 want to discuss with your periodontist if you have any respiratory conditions such as emphysema, multiple sclerosis, a common cold, or other difficulties with breathing.