Do not let dental fears and anxiety prevent you from achieving optimal oral health.

The most commonly employed technique used in conscious sedation dentistry is inhalation sedation with nitrous oxide and oxygen (N20-02) or “laughing gas”.

The goal sought when laughing gas is used is to eliminate dental anxiety, making the patient more comfortable while the dentist is able to more effectively complete the planned dental care procedure while the patient is sedated. A small rubber inhaler is placed over the patient’s nose and adjusted so that the patient is comfortable. 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 “tingly.” The individual might notice that they are perspiring a little, too. This is a normal effect of nitrous oxide and oxygen dentistry.

The dentist will talk with the patient throughout the dental care procedure and the individual will be able to respond without any problem. This is a major advantage, and a safety feature, of conscious sedation using laughing gas.

If, at any time during the procedure, the patient feels that they are getting too much nitrous oxide or if they begin to feel uncomfortable, they should tell the dentist immediately and within seconds the dentist can adjust the flow of gases, and the patient will feel more comfortable again.

At the conclusion of the treatment, the patient will receive 100% oxygen (for a minimum of three to five minutes). At the end of this time, the person should feel absolutely back to normal.

The fully-recovered patient is able to leave the dental office unescorted and to resume their normal activities. Nitrous Oxide 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.

Finally, laughing gas is highly recommended for apprehensive patients who have medical problems such as angina pectoris, persons who have had a heart attack, or persons with high blood pressure, asthma or epilepsy. Inhalation sedation dentistry should not be used with persons who are claustrophobic or with persons who are unable to breathe through their nose.

Additionally, if a person is unable to tolerate Nitrous Oxide for any reason, or has more severe anxiety, he/she has the option of taking a prescription sedative orally prior to their appointment. For this option, the patient will require a companion to drive them to and from their appointment. This allows the patient be able to rest comfortably during their appointment.

You ARE a candidate for sedation dentistry if:

  • Your oral health is deteriorating because you are afraid or terrified of the dentist or dental treatment.
  • your oral health is deteriorating because you are afraid or terrified of needles.
  • you have had a traumatic dental experience,
  • you have difficulty getting numb.
  • you gag and it prevents you from getting dental treatment
  • you have complex dental problems.