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Sedation Dentistry: Laughing Gas

Dental patient receiving sedation

If you get nervous about dental procedures or are prone to dentist-related anxiety, maybe you’ve considered sedation dentistry in the past. But if you’ve never been sedated before, you might have worries or questions about the techniques.

Dentists worldwide rely on dental sedation to help their patients feel more at ease and relaxed during dental procedures. From teeth cleanings to cavity fillings to root canal therapy, sedation dentistry can help with it all! One of the most popular types of sedation dentistry is probably the one you’re most familiar with: laughing gas.

What is laughing gas?

Laughing gas is the common name for the chemical compound nitrous oxide, which takes a gaseous form at room temperature. This odorless and colorless gas gets its name from the calming, relaxing effect it has on humans when inhaled in safe doses. 

Dentists use laughing gas to help their patients feel more comfortable and “airy” during treatment. Although laughing gas does not put patients fully to sleep, it helps them feel sedated and euphoric, so they are no longer fearful before beginning their dental treatment.

What does laughing gas feel like?

Because laughing gas has no color or taste, it’s impossible to notice its effects unless you are directly inhaling it. The way you experience the effects of laughing gas might be a little different from the next person, but familiar sensations caused by laughing gas include:

Feeling tingly or numb throughout your body, especially in your arms and legs 

Feeling like you are far away from the treatment room, even as you sit in the dental chair

Feeling light-headed in a pleasant, dreamy way

Feeling heavy in your arms and legs

Because laughing gas makes people feel light and calm, patients will sometimes laugh as a result. 

Is laughing gas safe?

Absolutely. Laughing gas is entirely safe as long as a dentist supervises the administration. Laughing gas does not pose any risks to your health, and the effects wear off almost immediately once you remove the medical mask. You shouldn’t experience any side effects for more than a few minutes once you leave the dental chair. 

Do you have additional questions about laughing gas and sedation dentistry? Give our dentist in Lockport a call at (716) 772-7500 to learn more! We proudly serve Lockport, Buffalo, and the surrounding communities.