Nitrous oxide sedation, more commonly referred to as laughing gas, is used as a sedation method to relax mild to moderately anxious patients. Nitrous oxide’s usefulness stems from the fact that it is odourless and works quickly. Its effects are also quickly reversible.
A small mask or nasal hood is placed over the nose allowing a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen to be inhaled. This creates a feeling of floating relaxation and wellbeing.
Once the dental procedure is completed, the nitrous oxide is turned off and the patient is then given pure oxygen to purge any nitrous oxide from the lungs. This then allows the patient to become fully awake and alert, and they can even drive afterwards.
Nitrous oxide sedation is such a safe procedure that it is considered the preferred sedation for children.
[There are some situations when gas sedation is not recommended]