Nitrous Oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is a safe and effective conscious sedation technique for both adults and children to help patients feel relaxed, and relieve dental anxiety. The American Dental Association and other dental journals have conducted research that demonstrates that Nitrous Oxide is safe for use on both children and adults. Nitrous Oxide is administered in combination with Oxygen (02), via a small mask that fits over the nose.
Typically, a separate appointment is scheduled for patients who will be receiving Nitrous Oxide during their procedure. Patients are advised to have little or no food for two hours preceding the dental visit because occasionally a full stomach can cause nausea or vomiting. Patients or parents are advised to inform the dentist if the patient is experiencing any respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult. A stuffy nose or other respiratory issues limit the effectiveness of nitrous oxide. It is also important to tell your dentist about any medications you or your child may be taking, or if there have been any chances to your medical history since your last visit.
The effects of Nitrous Oxide wear off very quickly, typically within minutes after the flow of gas has stopped. Adult patients who choose Nitrous Oxide during their dental treatment are able to drive themselves home or even go back to work after a brief observation period at the office.