How Does Laughing Gas Work?

Nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) is a common sedative used by dentists to help patients of all ages feel calm and relaxed while getting their oral health cared for.

Patients inhale the gas right before the dental treatment through a small nose piece and, in about 5 minutes or so, will begin to feel its effects. 

Learning that you may need laughing gas for your next appointment with Dr. Jessica Barton can be a bit stressful, so to help you navigate it, here is everything you need to know about how laughing gas works.

What Are the Effects of Laughing Gas?

Laughing gas works by displacing the air in your lungs and preventing oxygen from reaching your brain and blood. This controlled oxygen deprivation is what gives the gas its sedation effects.

Nitrous oxide can help you feel:

  • Relaxed
  • Calm
  • Less anxious
  • Even a bit sleepy

Some people can also become a bit giggly, especially children, which is where the name “laughing gas” comes from.

While under its effects, you will be fully awake and responsive, but it may feel like the entire procedure is a dream.

This state is perfect for allowing Dr. Barton to restore your oral health. Once the procedure is done, Dr. Barton switches you from nitrous oxide to oxygen, and every time you exhale, you will push out any remaining traces of the laughing gas.

By the time you’re ready to leave, you will not be under the effects of the sedative anymore.

Why Is Laughing Gas Necessary?

Laughing gas is an excellent sedative that can help more people gain access to even basic dental care. For instance, people with severe dental anxiety or those who cannot remain still for long periods of time often need laughing gas even for more routine appointments.

Laughing gas may also be necessary for the following:

  • A severe gag reflex
  • Children
  • Long and complex dental procedures

What Are the Side Effects?

Some side effects can include:

  • Disorientation
  • Nausea
  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

However, the symptoms usually wear off quickly, and it’s very rare for laughing gas to cause more severe or long-term side effects. It’s one of the safest sedation options around and is even used to treat children.

Still, before receiving any type of sedative, Dr. Barton will review your medical history and determine if you are a good candidate for laughing gas. Patients who have difficulty breathing through their nose or have a known allergy to nitrous oxide will be given an alternative sedation option.

How Harmony Dentistry Can Help

Harmony Dentistry in Westfield offers several sedation options to help all our patients feel perfectly comfortable and relaxed during their appointment. If you are interested in sedation dentistry and want to know its effects, Dr. Jessica Barton would be happy to present you with your options.

To get started, book a consultation at Harmony Dentistry now.

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