Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
Nitrous oxide, commonly referred to as laughing gas, is the most commonly utilized dental sedation option. It is also the mildest option, making it a popular and safe choice for patients of all ages, including children. As a gas, nitrous oxide is inhaled through the nose via a small, comfortable mask. After inhaling the gas, you will immediately exhale it, so the sedative does not remain in your system. Because the results are mild, nitrous oxide can be recommended for a variety of dental procedures, including simple ones like tooth fillings or dental crown placement. Patients also rely on laughing gas for more involved treatments, such as root canal therapy, that may take longer to complete.
Benefits of Laughing Gas
The benefits of dental sedation are many, but nitrous oxide in particular offers several unique advantages. For instance, your dentist can adjust the level of sedation throughout your procedure, increasing or decreasing it as necessary. Because nitrous oxide doesn’t remain in your system, the effects dissipate almost immediately after the mask is removed. Patients who opt for nitrous oxide sedation can typically drive themselves home after their treatment, or return to work, depending on the procedure they’ve just undergone.
For more potent effects, your dentist may suggest combining nitrous oxide with oral sedation, which can be taken as a pill or liquid shortly before your scheduled procedure.