Laughing gas is an odorless and colorless gas, officially known as nitrous oxide or N2O, probably won’t make you giggle while you’re in your dentist’s chair. However, for those of you who get uptight or squeamish before or during dental treatment, this commonly used sedative and anti-anxiety agent can help promote a sense of relaxation, calm and general well-being.
Laughing gas is known for having very few side effects, and for this reason, can be used on patients of all ages. This gas is used both alone and in union with agents such as pain relievers and local anesthetics. Nitrous oxide laughing gas by itself is a form of what is often referred to as ‘conscious sedation.’ Although it will leave patients somewhat tired, those who opt for conscious sedation as their sole form of treatment will remain awake and responsive during the entire dental procedure. Nitrous oxide laughing gas is a smart and widely used option for many procedures such as crowns, root canals or wisdom teeth removal. In fact, the sedative effects of laughing gas wear off so quickly after discontinuation that you can drive home directly following its use. And, unlike most other forms of sedation dentistry, you can eat within 12 hours of the procedure.