Fear of receiving dental treatment can cause people to avoid the dentist completely. This anxiety is very real and can hinder patients from receiving the care they need.
Nitrous oxide, often referred to as laughing gas, helps to alleviate the anxiety a person may be feeling in the dentist’s chair. It’s also used for conscious sedation during surgeries, because it causes a person to feel calm, though it’s important to note that it is not a pain blocker.
Your dentist will place a mask over your mouth to administer nitrous oxide, then will give you some oxygen through a nasal tube if your IV sedation allows it. Next, the dentist will clean and numb the area to be worked on with a local anesthetic and perform the necessary procedure(s). You may feel the effects for a while, but they wear off quickly and you can proceed normally afterward.
If your anxiety keeps you from receiving dental care, nitrous oxide can help you feel more relaxed. However, some health conditions could be worsened by it. Your dentist will review your medical, dental, and medication history to ensure you can benefit from this treatment.