EndodontistThe Purpose of Laughing Gas

Dental visits can make almost anyone anxious. However, your apparent anxiety about the dental procedure may lead your dentist to suggest the use of laughing gas. In Woodmere, NY too dental visits can include the administration of laughing gas to patients.

While the name sounds comforting and might convince you, your anxiety may worsen due to a lack of knowledge about the topic. Some of the questions you have might include: What exactly is laughing gas? What will it feel like? How will I feel using it? Are there any side effects? 

You quickly search for the use and effects of laughing gas on your phone, and it leads you here. So without further ado, let’s look at the answers to some common questions regarding laughing gas: 

What is Laughing Gas? 

Laughing gas has the chemical name nitrous oxide (N2O). It is a safe sedative gas that helps manage pain during dental treatments.  

It is called laughing gas because it produces a tingling sensation in the muscles that might make you giggle a few times during the dental procedure. The effects of laughing gas may also include light-headedness or heaviness in the body below the neck. 

Patients inhale laughing gas through a mask fitted on their noses. It is a colorless and odorless gas, and patients usually feel its effects in less than five minutes of inhaling the gas.  

What is the Purpose of Laughing Gas? 

Laughing gas is an effective sedative that helps patients feel relaxed besides numbing the pain. Unlike other dental sedation methods, laughing gas doesn’t put patients to sleep. It keeps the patients fully awake and conscious so that they can answer the dentist’s questions.  

Other purposes of laughing gas, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, include making dental procedures easier for patients: 

  • With special healthcare needs 
  • With high or uncontrolled gag reflex 
  • Whose bodies don’t respond to local anesthesia 
  • Who are anxious and fearful of the dental procedure 
  • Who must undergo lengthy dental procedures 

Is Laughing Gas Safe for Children? 

Laughing gas is a preferred sedative for children since it does not include injecting needles or swallowing medicines. Its safe and easy application method has made it the most common sedative method in dental procedures on children worldwide.  

Most children only feel a warm and tingling sensation by breathing in the laughing gas. The effect of light-headedness also helps calm and comfort the children.  

But sometimes, children may experience difficulty or anxiety in wearing the mask or nausea due to breathing in the laughing gas. In such cases, the dentist may suggest other sedation methods to the child’s parents or guardians that might be more suitable for the child’s needs.  

Are There Any Side Effects to Laughing Gas? 

Inhaling laughing gas supplied in a steady quantity usually has no side effects. However, a sudden increase in the nitrous oxide supply or an unsteady gas supply can make a patient feel uncomfortable or result in side effects. 

The side effects of laughing gas include nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, excessive sweating, shivering, and headaches. Hence, it is imperative to supply laughing gas into the mask steadily and evenly.  

Common Side Effects of Laughing Gas after the Dental Procedure 

Some patients may also experience side effects of laughing gas after the dental procedure. However, dentists can avoid the post-procedure side effects by steadily replacing the laughing gas supply with oxygen and letting the patients inhale oxygen for a few minutes before leaving the dental clinic.  

Replacing the laughing gas supply with oxygen helps purge the laughing gas from the patient’s lungs and makes them feel more awake and alert. Dentists must also advise patients to avoid driving or eating right after a dental procedure. Patients can also eat a light meal before a dental procedure, especially before a lengthy dental procedure.  

Who Should Avoid Laughing Gas? 

While laughing gas is one of the safest sedation methods for dental procedures, it is unsuitable for people with special conditions such as pregnancy, vitamin B-12 deficiency, pulmonary or other respiratory diseases, a history of mental health issues or substance abuse, and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency. Hence, patients should always inform dentists of their present medical conditions or medical history to allow the dentist to suggest the best sedation method.  

While laughing gas, is an easy and preferred sedation method in Woodmere, NY during dental procedures, patients must discuss all available sedation methods with their dentist. Moreover, since laughing gas is mostly used for root canal procedures, patients need to find a board-certified Endodontist, such as contact Long Island Endodontists, to minimize laughing gas side effects. Our dental experts at Long Island Endodontists are known to deliver painless dental procedures through state-of-the-art patient care. 

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