When is Laughing Gas Used in Dentistry?

By Aaron Strickland, D.D.S. on December 11, 2020


Although huge advancements have been made in the field of dentistry in recent years, we still see patients every day who suffer from dental anxiety. These patients often avoid returning to the dentist for necessary dental treatment due to their anxiety or fear. Of course, this only makes their dental issues worse.

However, the use of nitrous oxide and other conscious sedation methods are changing the way modern dentistry is done today. Many dentists recommend the use of nitrous oxide to help patients relax while major dental procedures are being performed.

What is Laughing Gas?

Nitrous oxide, also called laughing gas, is an inhaled sedative that is administered through an oxygen mask during dental procedures. Patients remain conscious (although in some cases they may fall asleep) while taking laughing gas, but in a “dreamy” or euphoric state. While laughing gas is not the same as a pain medication or anesthetic, it can help alter a patient’s perception of pain.

When is Laughing Gas Used?

Laughing gas is commonly used in the following procedures:

These are just a few of the most common procedures when laughing gas is recommended, however it has many applications. Laughing gas may be recommended for many lengthy dental procedures or for patients who experience anxiety. 

Who Can Use Laughing Gas?

Because laughing gas has very few, typically mild and uncommon negative side effects, it is frequently recommended for people of all ages. In fact, it is the preferred dental sedation method for children. Children undergoing lengthier dental procedures who may have a hard time sitting still or are anxious about their procedure may benefit from the use of laughing gas.

There are some people for whom laughing gas is not recommended. Pregnant women should ask their doctor before using laughing gas at the dentist. Laughing gas may not be recommended for patients with a history of COPD, have a methlenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency, or a cobalamin deficiency. Additionally, for patients who have emotional issues or a history of drug abuse, laughing gas may not be recommended.

The dentists at White River Dental are trained and certified to administer various forms of dental sedation, including nitrous oxide. Connect with us on Facebook, submit the online contact form at the bottom of this page, or give us a call today to schedule your appointment.

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Everyone was very professional, yet very laid back, making an unpleasant procedure much easier to have done. The follow-up​ call from the doctor showed that he cares about his patients. Stephanie C.

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