Maplebrook Dental
Blog Hero

How to Prepare for Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas) Dentistry

Book Appointment

Do you dread going to the dentist? Dental anxiety or discomfort about dental procedures is a common fear of visiting the dentist. 

It can range from mild nervousness to whole-body tension. And can make it difficult or even impossible to receive necessary dental care, such as dental procedures like crowns and bridges or restorative dentistry

But there is a solution for dental anxiety—Conscious sedation dentistry. Conscious Sedation dentistry, which uses nitrous oxide (laughing gas), can help you relax and feel calm during dental procedures. 

You’ll typically meet with your dentist before your appointment to discuss your medical history, gather information, and cover the conscious sedation procedure so that you know what to expect. 

What Is Conscious Sedation Dentistry?

If dental problems are left untreated, they can negatively affect oral and overall health. Conscious sedation dentistry can help you overcome anxiety and face dental issues to avoid complications later.

Conscious sedation dentistry is a treatment option used on adults and children for procedures as simple as teeth cleaning or more invasive ones, depending on the patient’s level of anxiety. 

About Nitrous Oxide

There are different types of sedation used in dentistry. A common form and the mildest includes inhaled minimal sedation using nitrous oxide.  

Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas or happy gas, is a colourless, odourless, and non-flammable gas used to help patients relax and feel more comfortable during dental work. 

Laughing gas, used as a weak sedative, isn’t meant to put you to sleep during a dental procedure. With this type of sedation, patients are awake or conscious. 

The patient inhales nitrous oxide or laughing gas combined with oxygen through a mask placed over the nose. It can help children and adults relax by settling the nervous system because you feel the effects within a few minutes. 

Your dentist can control the amount of nitrous oxide you need. And once the nitrous oxide slows the body down, patients may feel happy, giggly, light-headed, mild euphoria, and relaxed. 

But since the patient is still conscious, they can hear everything that’s going on around them. They can also respond to questions or instructions given by the dentist throughout the procedure. 

Nitrous oxide is safe for everyone in the family because it wears off quickly. At the end of the procedure, you will receive 100% oxygen following nitrous oxide to help you  fully recover. 

Because the effects of laughing gas wear off so quickly . nitrous oxide is the only form of sedation that allows you to drive after your procedure. 

a child with a sedation dentistry mask sits on a dentist chair, with a female masked dentist waiting to begin treatment

Who Can Benefit from Nitrous Oxide Dentistry?

Anyone can benefit from nitrous oxide dentistry, but it’s helpful for individuals who experience dental anxiety or fear and require mild to moderate sedation. Some common causes of dental anxiety include:

  • A past traumatic dental experience
  • Fear of pain
  • Noise from drills and dental instruments
  • Fear of injections
  • Feelings of helplessness and loss of control
  • Embarrassment
  •  Loss of personal space

Sedation dentistry can also be beneficial for individuals who:

  • Have a low pain tolerance
  • Have a history of traumatic dental experiences
  • Have a difficult time staying still during dental procedures
  • Have sensitive teeth
  • Have a strong gag reflex
  • Have significant dental work needed

Nitrous oxide sedation can be an option for children who are anxious and refuse to cooperate with a dentist. It’s important to discuss your specific needs and concerns with your dentist to determine if nitrous oxide dentistry is a good option for you.

Preparing for Nitrous Oxide Dentistry

Before a dental procedure, a consultation with your dentist usually involves discussing your medical history  and determining if nitrous oxide is an appropriate sedation method based on age and health. 

Here are some steps you can follow to prepare for nitrous oxide dentistry and what happens during the procedure:

  1. Inform your dentist of all medications and supplements you are taking.
  2. Let your dentist know if you have any allergies or medical conditions that may affect the sedation.
  3. Do not eat or drink anything at least 2 hours before the procedure or as instructed by your dentist.
  4. Follow any additional instructions given to you by your dentist.
  5. Note: You may still receive a local anesthetic to numb your teeth and gums, usually after relaxation has been achieved with nitrous oxide.

Nitrous Oxide Dentistry to Support Your Dental Health

It’s common for children and adults to experience dental anxiety. But it’s also important to treat dental issues early. 

Book an appointment with Maplebrook Dental if you have questions about nitrous oxide dentistry. Our friendly and experienced team can help you get the dental care you need without the added anxiety. 

Written by Fotini Molnar

Dr. Fotini Molnar started her dental experience working as a dental assistant in a co-op program during high school. She went on to complete her Bachelor of Science, majoring in biotechnology at York University and then obtained her Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the University of Toronto. Prior to her career in dentistry, Dr. Molnar researched neuroblastoma at Sick Kids Hospital.
instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax