All the way back in 1772, chemist Joseph Priestley created laughing gas, otherwise known as nitrous oxide. It was soon discovered the gas could relieve pain. But it was not a strong enough sedation to keep people feeling good through major surgeries. That’s why it’s the perfect choice for minor dental treatments and people who have dentist anxiety.
Laughing gas was given its nickname because it makes people feel euphoric, so it’s nothing to be worried about in a dental setting. Let’s take a closer look at exactly how laughing gas might make you feel before you step into the dentist’s office.
How Does Laughing Gas Make You Feel?
Unlike different types of sedation used in surgery, laughing gas isn’t very intense. The right dosage will likely make you feel euphoric, lightheaded, tingling and warm, and it will reduce the amount of pain you feel. Since laughing gas makes you so happy, it can also make you laugh more easily (thus the name). Most importantly, laughing gas makes you feel relaxed so that you can have a comfortable dental experience. Typically, you start feeling these sensations a few seconds after you inhale laughing gas.
What Exactly is Laughing Gas?
So what exactly makes you feel this way? After all, you don’t really want to be deeply inhaling a gas you know nothing about. Like we said earlier, laughing gas is technically known as nitrous oxide. The gas we dentists use is a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. It’s proven to be safe when used for the short amount of time you’ll be sitting in the dentist chair.
Nitrous oxide is known to depress your senses, like hearing, touch and pain. This is perfect for when you're receiving dental treatments. You won’t have to hear or feel any scraping or drilling and can relax until we’ve fixed up your teeth.
As long as your dentist doesn’t give you too much, you should feel pleasant and happy sensations. You’ll know if your dentist has given you too much if you start falling asleep and/or feeling nauseous. If you do start feeling these unpleasant sensations, simply let your dentist know or take off your mask. When you take off your mask, all of the sensations will subside.
How is it Administered at the Dentist and What is it Used For?
When you’re receiving laughing gas in the dentist chair, you will almost always be wearing a mask. This mask is connected to a supply of compressed gases, which flow through tubes to your mask and mouth. Your dentist will be carefully watching the gauges to make sure you are receiving the correct amount of gas. At Water Tower Dental Care, we do this almost every day, so we’re experts.
Here at our offices, we typically use sedation dentistry to treat people who match the following descriptions:
- Have a sensitive gag reflex
- Are anxious or afraid of dental treatments and/or instruments
- Don’t get numb from local anesthetics
- Experience health issues, including neck and back pain, while they are sitting in the dentist’s chair.
You should never skip out on visiting the dentist because you’re anxious or experience any of the issues above. If you’re feeling worried about seeing us, please contact us! We would love to help you have the most comfortable dental experience ever with laughing gas, or another oral sedative.