You’ve probably heard of laughing gas used at the dentist’s office. But why? How does it work? And can it help with anxiety? Laughing gas is actually nitrous oxide (N2O) gas that’s mixed with oxygen to slow down the nervous system while you’re undergoing a dental procedure. Let’s learn a little more about it.
Benefits of Nitrous Oxide
There are quite a few benefits of nitrous oxide. It’s a mild sedative that starts working in just a few minutes and also wears off quickly after the procedure. In fact, many patients can drive home after their appointment. It can help reduce pain as well as anxiety at the dentist, making you feel calmer and more comfortable.
What to Expect
Does laughing gas make you laugh? Many patients don’t laugh at all and some get a few giggles in while they are feeling less inhibited. Other effects of nitrous oxide include lightheadedness and feeling heavy or tingly in your arms and legs.
This type of sedation can also cause some more unpleasant effects such as a headache or nausea. A headache will usually fade after a couple of hours but you should let your dentist know if you develop one. Nausea can sometimes be prevented by eating lightly in the few hours before and after your appointment.
When It’s Used (And When It’s Not)
Nitrous oxide sedation can help make dental procedures much easier for many patients but it’s not the best option for everyone. The most common reason for using sedation is anxiety at the dentist but other patients who may benefit include children or those with special needs, patients with strong gag reflexes, or if a patient has not responded well to local anesthetic in the past.
Some physical and mental health conditions may mean you are not a candidate for laughing gas sedation. It’s important to discuss your medical history so you can decide together the best way to ease your anxiety at the dentist.
If you are anxious about seeing the dentist be sure to speak with someone on your care team at Dynamic Dental Solutions. We can speak with you about your concerns and the available sedation options, including nitrous oxide. Don’t let fear keep you from a beautiful, healthy smile. Contact us at (281) 837-9090 to schedule your appointment.