What is laughing gas?
The commonly known name ‘laughing gas’ refers to the gas nitrous oxide – a non-allergenic, non-irritating gas that affects the central nervous system.
How does laughing gas work?
A mixture of oxygen and laughing gas is administered via a small nose mask. Nitrous oxide has a sedative (calming) and anxiety-reducing effect so that the patient is completely relaxed during the dental treatment. The patient remains fully conscious and is fully responsive at all times; the gas simply causes a kind of trance. At the same time as removing anxiety, the patient’s sensitivity to pain and gag reflex are also greatly decreased.
After completion of the treatment, the effect of the laughing gas is completely eliminated within 3 minutes and the patient can leave the practice again without having to be escorted.
What exactly does the patient feel?
Patients describe the feeling of nitrous oxide sedation as a feeling of warmth and euphoria, lightness or pleasant heaviness. A tingling sensation of the hands and feet can also occur.
Laughing gas for children
Dental treatment with laughing gas is also suitable for children, provided they are willing to co-operate and accept the laughing gas mask covering their nose. The small patients experience local anaesthesia as less painful due to the calming effect of the gas, and lose all sense of time during the treatment. The child can respond at any time, as it remains fully conscious. Consequently, laughing gas sedation is a good alternative to general anaesthetic.