Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen inhalation, also known as “laughing gas,” is a mild, colorless, sweet smelling form of sedative used by many dentists to help facilitate the patient’s dental treatment needs. It is safe and tolerated well by most children. Nitrous Oxide/oxygen inhalation can reduce anxiety and hyperactive gag reflex, and raise the pain-reaction threshold. It may produce sensations of euphoria, drowsiness, warmth and tingling of the hands and feet resulting in an increase of tolerance for longer appointments.
Dental professionals consider it the safest sedative in dentistry. Both children and adults tolerate it well. It has a rapid onset, is reversible, can be adjusted in various concentrations, and is non-allergenic.
Nitrous Oxide in a dental office is never used as a general anesthetic and is not intended to put the patient “to sleep.” Depending on the procedure, local anesthetic may still be necessary. Uncommon side effects may include but are not limited to nausea, vomiting, headache and/or slight sleepiness or disorientation.
For nitrous oxide to be effective, the patient should be feeling well and able to breathe easily through the nose. The patient should also refrain from eating a large meal prior to breathing nitrous oxide. If the patient has a cold, fever, ear infection or stuffy nose please contact us to possibly reschedule the appointment.
Recovery from nitrous oxide is fast because it is quickly eliminated from the body. The patient will breathe oxygen for five minutes following the procedure so that there are no restrictions for aftercare.
If you have any concerns or questions with the use of nitrous oxide, please free to ask our pediatric dentists or trained staff.