Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) has been around for decades, but some patients don’t realize it’s still a great option for many dental patients and procedures. Nitrous oxide allows us to provide conscious sedation at times when full sedation isn’t required but pain relief beyond novocaine is needed.
Nitrous oxide, a colorless, odorless gas, is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a mask, allowing us to make patients comfortable and calm while they remain awake for their dental procedure. Nitrous oxide effectively relieves pain but allows the patient to remain fully conscious and interact with the dentist and staff.
Patients who may benefit from nitrous oxide sedation include children, who may be frightened or uncooperative, special needs patients and adults with anxiety or a low threshold for pain. Many dentists also recommend nitrous oxide for more complicated or longer dental procedures, where keeping patients comfortable is key.
One big advantage is that, unlike full sedation, nitrous oxide can be administered by the dentist rather than an anesthesiologist, reducing cost and saving time. Another plus is that, unlike traditional anesthesia, the effects wear off quickly, providing just enough sedation for the procedure at hand. Most adult patients can safely drive themselves home after treatment.
Nitrous oxide is an elective treatment and generally not covered by insurance. However, for many patients, the comfort and peace of mind this option provides are well worth the cost. Please click here to find out more about payment options and our participation with the CareCredit program for information in financing.