Nitrous (Laughing) Gas
The most commonly employed technique used by our Van Nuys dentistry in conscious
sedation dentistry is inhalation sedation with nitrous oxide and oxygen (N20-02)
or "laughing gas". It is estimated that approximately 35% of U.S. dentists
use this technique to relieve pain and dental anxiety.
The goal sought when laughing gas is used is to eliminate dental anxiety, making
the patient more comfortable while the sedation dentist is able to more effectively
complete the planned dental care procedure while the patient is sedated.
A small rubber inhaler will be placed over the patient's nose and adjusted so that
the patient is comfortable. At this time, the patient will be breathing 100% oxygen.
The signs and symptoms that most patients experience when receiving laughing gas
include an initial feeling of lightheadedness, which gradually leads to an all-over
feeling of warmth. Many persons mention a comfortable "vibrating" or "humming"
sensation. It is common to feel one's fingertips and hands become "numb."
This same sensation may develop in the mouth.
At the conclusion of the sedation dentistry treatment, the patient will once again
receive 100% oxygen (for a minimum of one to five minutes). At the end of this time,
the person should feel absolutely back to normal.
Laughing gas inhalation sedation is highly effective in the management of mild to
moderate levels of dental anxiety. It also is an excellent technique in persons
who are extreme gaggers; laughing gas usually eliminates or minimizes gagging in