Nitrous Oxide Sedation


If you feel fear, apprehension or embarrassment when you are sitting in the dental chair—or even just thinking about the dentist—you are not alone. Many patients experience moderate to severe feelings of fear or anxiety surrounding their dental appointments. If dental fear is keeping you from seeing the dentist, we can help.

At our practice, we are happy to accommodate anxious patients. Our team uses nitrous oxide gas to ease your nerves & keep you calm while you undergo procedures. Nitrous oxide, also referred to as “laughing gas,” is a first-line treatment for dental anxiety that is safe, effective & has few side effects.

Nitrous oxide sedation is also called “conscious sedation,” because it is not meant to knock you out. Instead, it will just relax you while the dentist works on your teeth. You will still be awake & able to respond to the dentist if they ask you any questions. Patients who receive nitrous oxide in the dental chair typically report feelings of comfort & wellbeing. You may also experience sleepiness, lightheadedness & a buzzing or tingling sensation in parts of your body.

If you decide to have your dentist administer nitrous oxide, they will place a small mask over your nose that will emit a continuous stream of gas. After that, it is as simple as regular breathing! The mask will first deliver 100% oxygen & then gradually increase the dosage of nitrous oxide. You should feel the effects almost immediately. During the procedure, the dentist can adjust the amount of gas at any time if they think you are getting too much or not enough. Our staff will monitor you throughout your treatment to ensure you are safe & comfortable. These safety precautions make overdosing extremely unlikely.

When your treatment is finished & the gas is shut off, the effects will begin to disappear right away. It may take a few minutes to feel totally normal. Once the effects have completely worn off, you will be able to drive yourself home!

While nitrous oxide is very safe, there are still some possible side effects. A few patients experience nausea or headaches from nitrous oxide. To avoid nausea, it is a good idea to avoiding eating for a couple hours before your procedure. If you begin to feel nausea, dizziness or any other bad feelings, tell the dentist right away & they will be able to quickly adjust the gas to a comfortable level. All in all, negative side effects from nitrous oxide sedation are neither severe nor common.

In some cases, nitrous oxide sedation may not be right for you. Women in the first trimester of pregnancy & individuals who suffer from COPD/emphysema should not receive nitrous oxide. Children can safely receive nitrous oxide for their dental treatments.

Don’t let your anxiety keep you from caring for your teeth! Feel free to ask us if you are a candidate for conscious sedation. We are happy to make you comfortable in order to promote your overall dental health!