What is nitrous oxide?

Return to FAQs

Nitrous oxide is a clear, colorless, odorless gas that is used to soothe, relax, and calm during dental treatment. It is also a mild anesthetic, reducing sensations so that dental treatment is more comfortable.

Because of the euphoric feeling that many patients experience, nitrous oxide is often dubbed “laughing gas” or “happy gas.” This doesn’t mean that you are going to laugh uncontrollably throughout your appointment; you’ll simply feel happy and relaxed.

The nitrous oxide gas that is used for dental sedation is actually a mixture of nitrous oxide (N2O) and oxygen. The gas is administered through a nasal mask so that you can breathe it in while we are working on your teeth. One of the best features of nitrous oxide is that the dose is easily adjusted in just moments. This allows us to give you exactly the right amount of gas you need.

Nitrous oxide is safe for use in all ages, and it only rarely produces any side effects. The most common side effect that people report is an upset stomach, but even this is quite unusual. Some people are more sensitive to nitrous oxide than other people, and if you know this to be true for you, we can discuss other alternatives.

Once your procedure is over, we simply remove the mask and by the time you take a couple deep breaths of regular air, the effect will go away. This means that you are perfectly fine to drive following your appointment, and you can resume your regular daily activities. 

Return to FAQs