As one of the most safe and effective sedative agents, nitrous oxide is widely used among dental practices to comfort patients. Commonly known as, “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is no way intended to put patients to sleep. In fact, nitrous oxide allows you to hear and respond to any directions or questions the dentist asks.
Nitrous oxide is inhaled through a small mask that is placed over the nose. After about 5 minutes, you should experience a pleasurable or euphoric feeling. Often times, patients will get a case of the “giggles” and feel a bit light headed. In medicine, nitrous oxide is a healthy mix of oxygen and nitrous oxide—about 50/50.
Sedation dentistry is appropriate for those who have a low pain threshold, extremely sensitive teeth, and bad gag reflexes or need an extensive amount of dental work. In some cases, children are administered nitrous oxide as it is completely safe when offered within the recommended dose for the child’s height and weight.