SedationDentist : The Truth About Nitrous Oxide

woman relaxing

woman relaxing

Before undergoing any dental procedure that may require anesthesia or sedation, it is helpful to have a general understanding about the most common options and how they work to relieve stress and fear prior to dental procedures. One of the most popular sedatives in dentistry, which has been used for many decades, is a substance called nitrous oxide.

You’ll learn some of the most critical things you should know about this sedative and how it may provide a more pleasant experience during procedures.

Truth #1 – Definition

Nitrous oxide-oxygen (commonly called “laughing gas”) is composed of nitrogen oxide and oxygen. It’s one of the most common sedation options used in dental and medical offices.

Truth #2 – Usage

This substance is considered a sedative because it commonly calms, relaxes, and provides comfort for the patient while undergoing an otherwise strenuous, discomforting, and possibly painful procedure. It commonly provides a sense of well-being for patients. These effects are typically beneficial for patients who are tense, anxious, and/or afraid of the procedure at hand.

Truth #3 – Effects

Side effects that only last while the substance is being administered include a feeling of heavy or tingly legs and arms, and light-headedness. .

Most patients find that while nitrous oxide works well as a sedation tool provided by their dentist, it’s doesn’t put them to sleep. Many patients remain…

  • Awake
  • Able to think rationally
  • Touch and feel
  • Able to respond to speech

The reason nitrous oxide-oxygen has been a mainstay in the dental and medical fields for many decades is because it is a safe and highly-effective sedation method that usually produces no side effects.


Truth #4 – Candidates

The vast majority of people, from young children to senior citizens, are usually safe to use nitrous oxide-oxygen.

Nevertheless, women who are in the first trimester of pregnancy are generally advised to not use it. Also, emphysema patients and those who’ve recently undergone ear surgery may need to avoid nitrous oxide. The best way to know if you’re a good candidate for nitrous oxide is to consult with your dentist.

Truth #5 Delivery

A small mask is placed over the nose, and the gas is inhaled to help the patient relax prior to a dental procedure.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

James Steward, DDS, and our compassionate staff proudly serve patients of all ages from Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, and all surrounding communities. To schedule a cosmetic consultation, call our office today at (734) 425-4400.