Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)

Nitrous oxide is a sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas.

Nitrous oxide has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. Nitrous oxide sedation is safe, with the patient receiving a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide. The patient receives 40-70% oxygen with no more than 60% nitrous oxide.  For comparison, the air we breathe is 20% oxygen.  

The patient is able to breathe on their own and remain in control of all bodily functions.

The patient may experience mild amnesia and may fall asleep, not remembering 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”.
  • 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.
  • Local anesthesia is still used and many patients feel its effects are enhanced with sedation.

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 not want to use it if you have emphysema, exotic chest problems, M.S., a cold or other difficulties with 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. Our office is equipped with the latest Nitrous Oxide technology available today. We have completed continuing education for certification and compliance with the new guidelines. Our office has been inspected and certified by the Board of Registration in Dentistry to insure your safety.