Nitrous Oxide (NO, Laughing Gas) is a colorless,
slightly sweet-smelling gas that is introduced through a nasal mask.
It works as you breathe it in through your nose. It has been used
in dentistry for over 100 years.
The most common response for most people is… " I’m
aware of what is going on, but it does not bother me". Sometimes
there is an accompanying tingling in the hands and feet. In controlled
use during a dental procedure it produces a slightly euphoric effect,
similar to that produced by Valium, or a cocktail. It is probably
the most controllable, reliable and predictable of the moderately
effective light sedation agents.
Will it eliminate "the shot"? For complete pain control
it is usually necessary to use a local anesthetic in conjunction
with nitrous oxide. However, NO also makes the injection much more
Each person is comfortable at different levels of NO, which is
what we determine at the initial first visit. A few people just
end up not liking it for one reason or another, but for those people
who do use it; it can literally make a world of difference in their
comfort and perception of dentistry.
Nobody absolutely needs nitrous, although it makes the visit so
much more comfortable that we almost routinely use it for fillings
and other work on children (3-10 yrs). I recommend everyone try
NO if they have any apprehension whatsoever about having dental
work done. Why be uncomfortable if something so safe and easy is
available? It is simply an extension of local anesthetic; anything
that can make your experience more comfortable is what we are interested
in providing for you.
The effects wear off as soon as you stop breathing the nitrous
oxide and most people are completely back to normal responses within
1-5 minutes. Some people report a lingering effect, but that is
most likely just due to the total relaxation some people feel under
Nitrous Oxide. There are no long-term effects unless you are exposed
to it frequently over an extended period of time.
The charge in our office is $30, regardless of how long we use
it. Most insurances do not cover this charge.