Nitrous oxide, commonly referred to as “laughing gas,” is one of the safest and most effective sedation dentistry methods for kids and adults. Dentists usually have the patient inhale nitrous oxide mixed with oxygen to calm their nerves and help them relax.

At Sapphire Smiles, we want to ensure that all our procedures are as painless and comfortable as possible. Our dentistry provides laughing gas for kids and adults to calm anxiety and ensure optimal comfort during the treatment. Please continue reading to learn more about laughing gas sedation dentistry.

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Description of Nitrous Oxide, aka Laughing Gas

Nitrous Oxide (N2O) is a colorless and odorless gas usually referred to as “laughing gas.” When inhaled, laughing gas produces a euphoric sensation by slowing down all of the body’s responses. Laughing gas sedation is often used to treat pain while ensuring optimal relaxation. It works immediately but also wears off relatively soon, making it suitable for simple procedures like a dental cleaning.

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Effects of Receiving Nitrous Oxide

Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, is combined with oxygen and channeled through a small mask that the dentist places over your nose. Nitrous oxide helps you relax, alleviating anxiety and distress. Your laughing gas dentist may recommend nitrous oxide if they sense discomfort or anxiety. Laughing gas for kids is commonplace because they’re often anxious, and laughing gas sedation helps them calm down, making them more likely to go for regular dental checkups.

When you receive laughing gas, it displaces the air in your lungs, preventing oxygen flow into your brain and blood. This mild and controlled oxygen deprivation leads to mild hallucinations, often inducing giggles. It doesn’t put you to sleep, so you can still listen to the dentist and respond to their requests. You may also feel some light-headedness and tingling in your arms and legs. Sometimes, laughing gas may also make your legs feel heavy.

Laughing gas works quickly, taking effect as soon as you breathe it in. However, it also loses effect just as quickly, wearing off about two minutes after you stop receiving it. As such, the dentist must supply a steady stream for the entire procedure to maintain the effects of the gas. Since laughing gas is a mild sedative, it is only used for simple and quick dental procedures, such as teeth cleaning.

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Benefits of Laughing Gas for Kids

Children often suffer from anxiety related to dental procedures. Dentists are often taught about “white-knuckled” patients, i.e., patients who are so terrified of dental procedures that they firmly grip the ends of their dental chair till their knuckles turn white. Children who continue suffering anxiety related to dentistry may grow up with a phobia that makes them less likely to go for regular dental checkups.

As such, laughing gas for kids helps alleviate anxiety and ensure your children aren’t too terrified of dentists. Laughing gas is a mild sedative and approved by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, so it’s completely safe for children. With laughing gas for kids, they won’t feel any fear, anxiety, or distress. Laughing gas also prevents them from feeling any pain. As such, your kids will be more willing to go for regular dental checkups.

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Laughing Gas Q&As

If my procedure is minor, but I feel anxious, can I still opt for sedation?

Yes, you can opt for laughing gas dentistry even for mild procedures like routine teeth cleaning. In fact, laughing gas is most often used for dental cleaning procedures.

Is nitrous oxide safe?

Nitrous oxide is a completely safe and commonplace oral sedation method for adults and children. However, laughing gas dentistry also has some mild and reversible side effects, such as mental confusion, headache, sleepiness, sweating, or nausea.

How is laughing gas administered?

Laughing gas is combined with oxygen and diffused through a mask. As such, you have to simply breathe it in through your nostrils. There are no injections involved.

When is laughing gas needed?

Laughing gas may be necessary if you have excessive fear or anxiety about your dental procedures. It is commonly used for simple procedures, such as tooth cleaning, root canals, and wisdom teeth removal.

How can nitrous oxide calm anxiety?

Nitrous oxide displaces the air in your lungs, preventing oxygen flow into your brain and blood. Mild oxygen deprivation to your brain induces giggles and calms anxiety. Laughing gas also has an analgesic effect to reduce pain.

Are there any precautions that I should be aware of?

You should avoid eating for about two hours before the procedure. Beyond that, you should beware that sustained nitrous oxide exposure can induce nausea.

What does laughing gas do to a child?

Laughing gas makes children feel sleepy and calm. They enter a dream-like state wherein they’re aware of their surroundings and can respond to the dentist, but everything feels warm, tingly, and unreal. They may also forget about the procedure after a while, the way you often forget about dreams after waking up.

Do you need laughing gas for wisdom teeth?

Laughing gas is often administered during wisdom teeth removals. You may also get laughing gas for tooth extraction or sedation dentistry for cleaning.

Is laughing gas the same as anesthesia?

Laughing gas is not the same as general anesthesia. It doesn’t put you to sleep completely or numb sensation entirely. Instead, laughing gas calms your anxiety and has a mild analgesic effect that relieves mild pain.

Do you want to learn more about Laughing Gas? Ask us!

Contact our Laughing Gas Dentist Today

At Sapphire Smiles, we use the safest oral sedation dentistry methods to ensure that you and your children are comfortable during all dental procedures. Dr. Antoun is a charismatic laughing gas dentist who ensures children have a positive outlook on dental care, making them more likely to maintain a healthy set of teeth. For more information, please schedule an appointment with our Houston dental clinic today.