Laughing gas is a popularly used sedative medication in the dental field, so you’ve probably heard about it a lot but may not know how it works or what it is. Read on in this blog from Academy Dental Care to find out why it’s called laughing gas, how it makes you feel, and how long it lasts after your appointment.
Laughing gas is another name for the sedative nitrous oxide. It’s a very popular sedative used in sedation dentistry because it’s the mildest and safest to use for people of all ages. You can get laughing gas during any dental appointment, whether it’s a routine cleaning, a filling, or a more invasive procedure.
This falls under the class of conscious sedation because you are not put into a state of unconsciousness. A gas mask will be placed over your nose and you will inhale nitrous oxide and oxygen.
This sedative has a quick onset so patients feel the effects within just a couple of minutes of inhalation. To avoid feeling nauseous, you should not eat for 2 hours before you receive laughing gas in Charlotte Hall.
You might be wondering why we refer to nitrous oxide as “laughing gas” and the truth is that some people feel very giddy or giggly, hence the term laughing gas. However, not everyone has this reaction and most people simply remain calm and relaxed.
Laughing gas can cause feelings of euphoria, and it also reduces pain sensation and reduces sensitive gag reflexes. This is why it’s so useful when patients have dental anxiety, special needs, mobility issues, and restlessness.
Laughing gas wears off just as fast as it takes effect. Once we’ve completed your treatment, we will remove any remnants of nitrous oxide from your body by flushing the gas mask with pure oxygen and then removing the mask.
Most patients feel completely back to normal within 5 minutes. More intense sedatives last for many hours and can have hangover effects for up to 24 hours. Laughing gas, however, metabolizes very quickly and does not linger in the body after a few minutes of removing the mask.
This means you can drive to and from your appointment without any problem. Other sedatives will require that you arrange for a driver to take you to your appointment and drive you home as well as monitor you throughout the day. However, after a short period of monitoring for just a few minutes, you’ll be cleared to drive home and can resume your normal activities without restriction.
If you struggle with stress or anxiety when you go to the dentist, we highly recommend that you give dental sedation a try. It will melt away your fears and put you into a worry-free, relaxed state so you can calm down and your dentist can get more done in fewer appointments. Contact us at Academy Dental Care to schedule a consultation with Dr. Thomas O'Shea.