Tuscaloosa Dental Blog

What is Nitrous Oxide Used for at The Dentist? 

added on: October 16, 2022

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a colorless and odorless gas occasionally used for dental treatment. Now, while not everyone will be a candidate for nitrous oxide, this type of sedation dentistry has been known to help ease nervous or scared patients during procedures. If you have dental fear, you should talk with your dentist in Tuscaloosa about nitrous oxide or other sedation dentistry options. 

Why is Nitrous Oxide Used? 

One situation when nitrous oxide may be used in dentistry is when a patient is scared of the dentist. Fear of the dentist is incredibly common in the United States, and about 36% of people in the United States have fear of getting dental treatment. But nitrous oxide can help a patient relax and stay calm throughout their visit. 

Nitrous oxide may also be used if a procedure will take a bit of time. Patients can become uncomfortable laying back in the dental chair with their mouths open for prolonged periods. This may cause them to become jittery, making it hard for your dentist in Tuscaloosa to work. During these treatments such as a root canal or restorative dentistry, you may benefit from laughing gas or another form of sedation dentistry. 

What Are the Effects of Laughing Gas? 

Many dentists prefer nitrous oxide because the effects wear off quickly. In fact, your dentist will probably give you straight oxygen once treatment is done and you’ll be back to feeling like yourself in no time. Many patients can go right back to their day without downtime. However, it’s still wise to have someone drive you after your appointment. 

Patients may experience some side effects during or after using nitrous such as: 

  • Shivering
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea

These symptoms should be temporary and short-lived. To help avoid nausea, only eat a small meal or snack before your appointment.

Is Nitrous Oxide Safe? 

Controlled and monitored use of nitrous oxide is considered safe by the American Dental Association. In fact, patients who use nitrous oxide at their dental appointments are still conscious and can answer questions from their dentist in Tuscaloosa

How is Laughing Gas Administered? 

Perhaps one of the best things about laughing gas is that there are no needles involved in administering it. The gas is administered through a small nose mask that allows you to simply breathe in the nitrous oxide and oxygen mixture. 

If you’ve been putting off routine dental care because of fear, or if you know you have a strong gag reflex or the need for a longer appointment, talk with your dentist about nitrous oxide or other types of sedation dentistry. Dental care, even bi-annual cleanings, x-rays, and checkups, shouldn’t be delayed. After all, preventive dentistry is the best way to avoid more complex treatment because it allows your team to catch problems early when they’re easier to treat. 

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