Laughing Gas As A Dental Sedative

If you are afraid to visit your dentist, you may avoid receiving the dental care that you need to maintain your oral health. Dental fears are common, but your dentist may have solutions to help ease your anxiety.

Sedation dentistry involves the application of sedatives to help reduce dental anxiety and allow fearful patients to relax during their dental visits. The sedatives used in sedation dentistry include oral, injected, and inhaled medications. 

Laughing gas is used as an inhaled sedative. Here is a bit of information about this commonly used sedation agent.

What to Expect From Laughing Gas

The official name of laughing gas is actually nitrous oxide. The sedative is applied through a comfortable mask that is placed over the nose.

As you inhale laughing gas, you may feel more relaxed and comfortable. However, you will not become unconscious. You can still hear what is going on around you and respond to your dentist's requests.

The laughing gas helps to reduce your anxiety, lessen pain, and make you feel euphoric. The effects last long as the gas is continually administered, but once the flow of the nitrous oxide is stopped, the effects of the sedative quickly wear off. 

You may feel a bit light-headed as you breathe in the laughing gas. Additionally, your legs and arms may seem tingly.

How Does Laughing Gas Work?

Laughing gas works by displacing the oxygen in your lungs. Thus, the flow of oxygen to your bloodstream and brain is reduced. The lack of oxygen is the reason that you may feel a little light-headed and giggly.

Still, the effects of the gas diminish within a couple of minutes after you stop inhaling the nitrous oxide.

Why Is Nitrous Oxide Often Preferred?

Many people prefer nitrous oxide over other dental sedatives because its effects are not long-lasting and the gas is administered in the dental office. With oral and injected sedatives, the effects of the medications last significantly longer, requiring patients to have someone else drive them home after their appointment. 

Additionally, with oral sedatives, you will likely even need a driver to take you to your appointment. The oral medications are usually taken about thirty minutes prior to your appointment, so your ability to drive may be impaired before you ever reach the dental office. 

If you have a fear of the dentist but need to schedule an appointment, contact a dental office in your local area and inquire about sedation dentistry. Click here for more information about sedation dentistry.