Nitrous Oxide

  • Nitrous oxide, commonly called laughing gas, is an odorless, colorless gas inhaled through a nose mask.
  • Nitrous oxide has been a primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. Nitrous oxide is safe, the patient receives 50-70% oxygen with no less than 30% nitrous oxide.
  • Under nitrous oxide sedation, people are able to breathe on their own, communicate and remain in control of all bodily functions.
  • People under nitrous oxide sedation may become relaxed and fall asleep and not remember all of what happened during their 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 is no after effect such as a “hangover.”
  • Nitrous oxide sedation can minimizing gagging.
  • It works rapidly and in as little as 2-3 minutes its relaxation effects can be felt.
  • The gas quickly leaves the body afterwards, meaning people can drive themselves to and from their appointment and continue their normal daily activities afterward.

Reasons to not use Nitrous Oxide

You should not utilize nitrous oxide if you have been diagnosed with a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or are pregnant. Though there are no other major contraindications to using nitrous oxide, you may not want to use it if you have a cold or other difficulties with nose 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.