Are you fearful of going to the dentist? Does the thought of getting a shot make you uncomfortable? Do you have an active gag reflex? If you answered yes to any of these questions, nitrous oxide sedation might be right for you.

What is nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is a gas used for mild sedation and is a common tool in dentistry. Nitrous oxide is a colorless, odorless gas that introduces a euphoric feeling that often begins with a tingling sensation or vibrations followed by a feeling of warmth. Deeper levels of sedation may cause you to become sleepy and cause heaviness of the eyelids and a “floating” feeling.

The gas is administered via a hose with a small hood that goes over your nose. It comes from a pressurized tank that mixes oxygen and nitrous oxide together. All you have to do is breathe in normally through your nose to feel the effects of the gas.

Nitrous oxide helps ease patients’ nerves and make several procedures more comfortable. The onset of effects is very quick—only about 30 seconds after inhalation—and ends soon after the patient is no longer breathing in the gas. When the mask is removed, the sensation you feel should go away in just a matter of moments.

Is nitrous oxide safe?

Laughing gas is one of the safer options for mild sedation. More often than not, it is used to calm nerves and dull pain. Nitrous oxide is mixed with oxygen to ensure safety for breathing. There are very few side effects (occasional nausea, vomiting being the most common). Dosage can be adjusted easily and quickly to ensure you aren’t getting too much or too little.

What is nitrous oxide used for?

This mild sedative can be used in a variety of dental procedures. For some nonsurgical procedures, laughing gas alone may do the job. However, it is often used with local anesthetic which numbs parts of your mouth during oral surgery. Local anesthesia is used to numb specific regions to eliminate pain from surgery. The numbness of the anesthesia will last long after the effects of the nitrous oxide go away.

If you are a resident of Elk Grove Village, Itasca, Wood Dale, or surrounding areas, contact the dental office Brian Homann, DDS to discuss if nitrous oxide is a viable option for your dental procedure. If you have anxiety or fear of the dentist, you are not alone. Many people suffer from a fear of the dentist. Dr. Homann’s office uses nitrous oxide for a variety of procedures to calm patients’ nerves and create a relaxing, comfortable environment. If you have any questions about laughing gas or the treatments for which it is available, call the office of Brian Homann, DDS at 847-439-9440.