Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)

Nitrous oxide has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. It was first used in dentistry in 1844.

Nitrous oxide is safe; the patient receives 50-70 percent oxygen and 30-50 percent nitrous oxide. It is a sweet smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which is inhaled through a soft rubber mask that covers only the nose. The patient is able to breathe on his or her own and remain in control of all bodily functions. The patient may experience mild amnesia and may lightly doze, not remembering all of what happened during their appointment. Nitrous oxide is routinely used in dental offices to help relax patients of all ages.

There are many advantages to using nitrous oxide:

  • The strength is easily and quickly adjustable, based on each patients needs and comfort level
  • There is no after effect such as a "hangover"
  • Inhalation sedation is safe with no side effects on your heart or lungs
  • Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging, and is also useful for tooth sensitivity (gum procedures and cleanings) because of its mild anesthesia properties
  • It works rapidly reaching the brain within 20 seconds. In as few as two to three minutes, its relaxation and pain-killing properties develop
  • After treatment, plain oxygen is administered. All effects of the laughing gas disappear in just a few minutes

Reasons Not To Use Nitrous Oxide

Though there are no major contraindications to using nitrous oxide, you may not want to use it if you have emphysema, chest problems, asthma, multiple sclerosis, a cold, or other difficulties with breathing.

You may want to ask Dr. Grzegorzewski for a five-minute trial to see how you feel with this type of sedation method before proceeding.