Nitrous oxide, also known as "laughing gas," is commonly used to make treatment more comfortable. The nitrous oxide is inhaled through a mask and produces a state of relaxation. It doesn’t put people to sleep, or cause full sedation, so we still recommend local anesthetic in conjunction with nitrous oxide to eliminate pain. Nitrous oxide wears off within seconds of removing the mask, and has no lingering effects.
Nitrous oxide is inert, and safe for most patients, but there are a few situations in which it must not be used, including the following:
Nitrous oxide is designed to make procedures easier for nervous. We find that, for people with a fear of dentistry, it can make the first few appointments easier. After that, most people find that since we are gentle, and we take the time to explain each step along the way, we gain their trust, and they can relax without using nitrous.