Dentists can easily alleviate patients’ fear with nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas. They use it to help you get through a situation that for some is a cake walk but others can be like walking into a volcano.

What it is

Nitrous oxide does not put you to sleep. It is there for relaxation purposes and to remove all fear. It does not affect your mental functions, therefore you will still be able to answer questions and respond to anything that they ask you to do. One of the benefits is that once the mask is taken off, you will start to feel the effects wearing off relatively quickly. This allows you to drive yourself home after your session and not have any negative side effects from the drugs.

How it’s administered

It’s administered through inhalation. A mask gets put over your nose releasing oxygen and nitrous oxide combined for you to inhale. It only takes a few moments for you to start feeling the effects. Some people get a bit tingly, others say their legs feel heavy. Generally, five minutes is enough time to start feeling “happy” and pain free. This is what many people need, to get to a happy place in order for them to be able to go on with the treatment.


As with any type of drug, there are precautions that need to be taken. As the patient, if you feel like the gas is too much, you can take the mask off or tell your dentist to adjust the amount of gas you are receiving. Nitrous Oxide is for conscious sedation. If you start getting to a point of sleepiness and have difficulty keeping your eyes open or you start dreaming and feeling sick, you’ve had too much and it’s time to let your dentist know. This means you either are using a concentration that is too high, or it has been administered for too long.

Additional Considerations

Every time you go to the dentist they should be increasing the amount of nitrous oxide slowly. Each day can be different, meaning that what you tolerated and was perfect last visit, might be too much or too little for the next visit. Keeping that in consideration is important because it is not like other drugs that stay in your system. One additional benefit is that it is something that nitrous oxide is suitable even for people with epilepsy, liver disease, and other issues, that many not be candidates for other types of sedation. One thing is for sure, if you are scared of the dentist, this can definitely help you to make the trip more enjoyable.

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