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Is Laughing Gas Right for You?

dental hygiene-laughing gas-dentist near meLaughing gas has been used in dentistry and oral surgery since 1844. It is a simple solution to help patients with dental anxiety, restlessness, and other situations feel more comfortable during certain dental procedures. Here are some things to know to determine if laughing gas is right for you.


Nitrous oxide also called “laughing gas” was first recorded in the late 1700s. It is a mild sedative mixed with oxygen that is inhaled through a small mask that fits over your nose and mouth. Within 2-5 minutes, laughing gas relaxes the patient, making them feel calm while numbing any pain and anxiety that may occur during the procedure. Once the mask is removed, laughing gas quickly wears off.


Laughing gas is ideal for patients who are fearful, uncooperative, anxious, or agitated about having certain procedures such as:

  • Fillings
  • Tooth extraction
  • Crowns
  • Root canals
  • Dental implants
  • Veneer application

Laughing gas is a safe solution to relax children, helping them to remain still during dental appointments. Patients with gag reflexes, special needs, and disabilities may also benefit from this method of sedation.

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After the mask is placed over the mouth and nose, laughing gas kicks in within minutes, relaxing the patient by depressing anxieties and creating potential feelings of mild euphoria, giddiness, happiness, light-headedness, or relaxation.

Laughing gas does not put the patient to sleep. Rather, the patient is alert to their surroundings, can hear the dentist and staff, and can ask or respond to questions.

Following the removal of the mask, laughing gas wears off quickly. Some individuals may experience nausea, vomit, or complain of a ‘hangover’ type headache afterward, but take comfort. These post-gas effects only occur in about 5% of patients.


As with any form of anesthesia including Novocain shots, not everyone is a candidate for laughing gas. You should not use laughing gas if:

  • you are in your first trimester of pregnancy
  • you have COPD or a history of respiratory illness
  • you are currently abusing drugs or have a history of drug abuse.
  • you have been told by a doctor you have a vitamin B-12 deficiency
  • you have the enzyme condition methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency
  • you have a history of mental health conditions

As with any medical or dental procedure, it is critical that you share mental and physical health concerns with your dentist or doctor prior to using any form of anesthesia, taking medication, or undergoing a procedure.

At Imperial Dental Center, our goal is to provide the best dental care to our patients while ensuring their comfort and safety in our care. Contact us today at (281) 265-3567 or schedule an online appointment to discuss any dental concerns you may have.

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