Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)

Nitrous Oxide is a sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which you can breathe.

Nitrous Oxide has been the the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. Nitrous oxide is safe. The patient receives a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide. One of the benefits of receiving nitrous oxide as opposed to other means of sedation is that when the appointment is over, the doctor flushes your system with oxygen and you feel normal again right away.

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. In as little as 2-3 minutes its relaxation and pain killing properties develop.

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.

Valium

Sometimes patients will benefit from the use of Valium. Taken 45 minutes before your appointment, Valium can greatly reduce the stress and anxiety frequently associated with a dental appointment. It is necessary to have a driver for you on the day of your appointment if Valium is taken.  

For very anxious patients Dr. Bacon or Dr. Lerud may combine nitrous oxide and Valium.