Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a non-allergenic, non-irritating gas that affects the central nervous system. It is one of the safest and most effective forms of sedation available and has few side effects. Nitrous oxide takes effect within 3-5 minutes and the effects of the gas are completely reversed in 3-5 minutes, as the flow of nitrous oxide is gradually replaced with 100% oxygen.
Nitrous oxide sedation is commonly used for anxious patients in our practice. It helps eliminate fear and reduce anxiety by allowing the patient to relax during treatment. The gag reflex and flow of saliva are also somewhat decreased.
One of our dentists administers the nitrous oxide by placing a mask over the nose, allowing the patient to breathe in the gas. As the nitrous oxide begins to work, it induces a state of relaxation. The depth of sedation can be varied as required. The patient remains awake and responsive throughout treatment while feeling completely comfortable and relaxed.