How does laughing gas work?



June 24, 2020

Laughing gas (dental nitrous oxide) works effectively when you inhale it before your dental treatment. Once combined with oxygen, it emits a sensation within your body that helps you feel relaxed and comfortable.

Your dentist will administer laughing gas through a small nose piece which will take around 5 minutes to take effect. Once you are sedated, you will become drowsy or enter a dream-like state and nothing will bother you.

In addition, laughing gas is also referred to as happy gas and is a local sedation method that allows your dentist to work efficiently while you are unresponsive. If you are anxious about treatments, happy gas ensures you experience no pain or irritation during your procedure and is commonly used for children.

What is dental nitrous oxide?

Dental nitrous oxide (N2O) is a gas which is used by dentists to sedate or to provide relief to patients. Nitrous oxide or laughing gas is a unique sedation method which is:

  • Colourless
  • Odourless
  • Inhaled through a small nose piece like a mask

Furthermore, you will likely experience happy gas when you or your child undergo a minor dental treatment.

During your dental procedure, you may feel some positive effects from the laughing gas which will help you to:

  • Reduce anxiety
  • Relax
  • Feel calm
  • Become sleepy or enter a dream state

As a result, your dentist will be able to provide you with the best possible dental care while you are still and comfortable.

Why do dentists use laughing gas?

Laughing gas is a safe and pain free sedation method which enables your dentist to work more effectively, especially when working with children. If you or your child suffer anxiety or have previously had a bad dental experience, you may not feel comfortable undergoing another treatment.

For this reason, the laughing gas enables you to become unaware of what your dentist is doing during your dental treatment. Once you inhale laughing gas and become sleepy, your dentist will be able to provide you with a quality service and enhance your oral health.

You will likely experience laughing gas when you undergo dental procedures such as a:

Laughing gas effects

Following a procedure, it may take you several hours for you to get back on your feet after inhaling laughing gas. Therefore, we recommend that you consume light meals and avoid eating or drinking too heavily for the first several hours following your sedation. This will help you to reduce the risk of issues within your stomach.

Furthermore, children tend to recover quicker from laughing gas and wake up more comfortably than adults. From a dentist’s perspective, if you have a child under this level of sedation you should remain with them throughout their treatment. Knowing that they have a familiar face there for them when they wake up will ensure they are safe throughout the procedure.

Side effects of laughing gas

In the short term, you may experience some side effects from laughing gas and these side effects may include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Feeling high
  • Fatigue

Following your procedure, your dentist will remove the nose piece and may provide you with oxygen to flush out the remaining nitrous oxide within your body. As a result, the oxygen will help you to regain your senses and reduce the side effects.

In severe cases, you may experience an allergic reaction or severe side effect. Therefore, you must seek medication attention immediately if you:

  • Can not breathe normally through your nose
  • Have a severe headache
  • Have a fever
  • Contract a rash

Dental Nitrous Oxide Gold Coast

At Coastal Dental Care, we offer nitrous oxide at our Banora Point, Cabarita Beach and Runaway Bay dental clinics. If you would like to know which treatments laughing gas is used for, contact our friendly staff at one of the three locations mentioned above.

If you are looking to visit a dentist for a general check-up, you can contact any of our friendly practices here on the Gold Coast. Alternatively, you can book an appointment online, 24/7.