Laughing Gas

Nitrous Oxide

When dental treatment is required, we are committed to facilitating positive dental experiences for our patients. Often, we recommend the use of “laughing gas” or nitrous oxide to safely and comfortably complete treatment for our patients. With few contraindications, laughing gas is a form of mild sedation that particularly aids in helping our patients with even the most sensitive gag reflexes feel at ease.

Our pediatric dentists will review your child’s medical history and answer any questions you may have regarding nitrous oxide and its role in providing pediatric dental care in a safe and fun environment!

How Long Does Laughing Gas Last?

2-3 minutes. Nitrous oxide has the fastest onset and recovery among inhalation agents. It is transported in the blood as free gas. Because of its low blood solubility, it is removed rapidly from the body via pulmonary exhalation once nitrous oxide flow is terminated.

Laughing Gas Side Effects?

Nitrous oxide has an excellent safety record. Acute and chronic adverse effects on the patient are rare. When administered by trained personnel on healthy patients with appropriate technique, the most common adverse effects are:

  • Dizziness, nausea, and vomiting (0.5-1.2% of patients)
  • Headache
  • Disorientation

These events can be avoided by administrating 100% oxygen for 5 minutes once nitrous oxide flow is terminated. Fasting is not required for patients undergoing nitrous oxide, however to reduce the chance of nausea/vomiting, your dentist may recommend no more than a light meal be consumed prior to nitrous oxide administration.

Can You Still Feel Pain with Laughing Gas?

Nitrous oxide has mild analgesic (pain-reducing) properties due to neuronal release and activation of opioid receptors. While it is a helpful adjunct to alleviate pain during dental procedures, it is not meant to replace other forms of anesthetic. Local anesthetic is still needed to eliminate or “numb” pain completely.

What Does Laughing Gas Feel Like?

Nitrous oxide is often readily accepted by patients. Many individuals report a warm or tingling sensation and experience a calming, euphoric or dream-like state. The ability to respond to verbal commands and maintain protective reflexes is maintained.

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