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Laughing Gas and Dentistry – What’s the Connection?

Oral health is no laughing matter, but that doesn’t mean a trip to the dentist shouldn’t be accompanied by a few giggles.

What do we mean?

You’ve probably seen movies or TV shows in which patients who are given laughing gas immediate bust out in fits of hysteria. That’s not exactly how it works in real life, but laughing gas (formally known as nitrous oxide) does have its place in dentists offices.

Why Do Dentists Use Laughing Gas?

It’s no secret that a lot of people are afraid of going to the dentist. Even the simplest of appointments can be pretty scary for people who are inclined to have anxiety.

Laughing gas assists both patients and dentists by:

  • Helping patients relax
  • Reducing stress
  • Minimizing or eliminating pain
  • Creating a euphoric feeling

Nitrous oxide won’t put you to sleep. Rather, it enables you to stay fully awake so you can answer questions and respond to any requests the dental professionals may have, but you won’t feel pain or uneasiness during the process.

How Do Dentists Administer Laughing Gas?

If your appointment calls for laughing gas, your dentists or her assistant will ask you to breathe through your nose using a consistent, deep breathing pattern.

She’ll place a small mask over your nose, providing the channel for the gas to enter your body. Shortly after the mask is placed on your face, you’ll likely begin to feel a light tingling sensation in your arms and legs. You might also become light-headed or feel like your limbs are super heavy. This just means the gas is working. Nitrous oxide is solely a sedative agent that’ll help your mind and muscles loosen up; it won’t harm you.

The effects of the gas will begin to wear off within a few minutes of the mask being removed, so there’s nothing to worry about as far as long-term drowsiness, numbness, or confusion. You’ll be back to your normal self before you know it. However, if you do have a fear of laughing gas, be sure to talk to your dentist. She can answer your questions and may be able to provide alternatives if necessary.

Centre Dentaire is the dental clinic Montreal residents trust with all their oral healthcare needs. Whether you simply need a regular cleaning, you’re looking for full-mouth rehabilitation, or you’re seeking something in between, our team is here to help. Schedule your initial consultation so we can get started!