Adult patients may elect to use nitrous oxide to reduce anxiety during dental treatment. The nitrous oxide is given through a small breathing mask which is placed over the nose, enabling relaxation without inducing sleep. You will smell a sweet aroma and experience a feeling of well-being and relaxation. Since nitrous oxide can sometimes produce a feeling of giddiness, it is often called “laughing gas.” It has the effect of raising the pain threshold and may make time appear to pass quickly.
As soon as the mask is removed, the effects of the gas wear off within 5 minutes. Although we find the use of nitrous oxide extremely helpful for many patients, it may not be a covered insurance benefit. Nitrous oxide can be used during most dental and cosmetic dental treatments