Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)

At Yankton Family Dentistry we understand that a trip to the dentist can be a stressful event for some people.  Although we try to put our patients at ease with our friendly smiles and our relaxed atmosphere, we sometimes realize that for some that just isn’t quite enough.  For those people, we offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) as a way to help.

Nitrous oxide is a sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which you can breathe.  It  has been a primary means of sedation in general and pediatric dentistry for many years. Nitrous oxide is safe.  The patient breathes in a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen through a small mask fitting over his or her nose. This mix has at the minimum 30% oxygen.  The patient is able to breathe on their own and remain in control of all bodily functions.

The patient may experience mild amnesia and may fall asleep, not remembering all of what happened during their appointment.

There are many advantages to using Nitrous Oxide

  • The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation.
  • There is no after effect such as a “hangover”.
  • Inhalation sedation is safe with no side effects on your heart and lungs, etc.
  • Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging.
  • It works rapidly as it reaches the brain within 20 seconds. In as little as 2-3 minutes its relaxation and pain killing properties develop.

Reasons to not use Nitrous Oxide

You should not utilize Nitrous Oxide if you have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Though there are no other major contraindications to using nitrous oxide, you may not want to use it if you have emphysema, exotic chest problems, M.S., a cold or other difficulties with breathing.

You may want to ask your dentist for a “5 minute trial” to see how you feel with this type of sedation method before proceeding.