Why Laughing Gas Doesn’t Work on Me

general dentist Beaverton, OR

Laughing gas, also known as nitrous oxide, can be quite perplexing. If you have any questions about this type of anesthesia, your general dentist is here to help. It’s important to understand what nitrous oxide is and how it works before deciding if it’s the right option for you.

Four Important Points About Nitrous Oxide

Laughing gas won’t induce sleep

While certain anesthesia methods can make a patient fall asleep during a procedure, nitrous oxide doesn’t have the same effect. According to the ADA, patients under nitrous oxide can still hear their general dentist and respond to any questions. Although it won’t induce sleep, laughing gas can relax both the body and mind. After a few minutes of inhaling the gas through a mask, you might experience a tingling or heavy sensation throughout your body. Additionally, you may feel light-headed. Nitrous oxide can actually alleviate any anxiousness you may have prior to the procedure.

Nitrous oxide is safe for children

Dental procedures can be quite intimidating for kids. However, laughing gas provides a safe and effective method to manage pain and anxiety during these procedures.

Effects of laughing gas are minimal for kids and adults

When children are given nitrous oxide, they may feel sleepy, relaxed, and slightly forgetful. They will remain aware of their surroundings, and their general dentist will frequently check to ensure they are awake and alert. The effects of the gas should wear off shortly after it is no longer being administered. It is common for children to feel nauseated afterward. To prevent or alleviate vomiting, it is recommended that they drink water or clear fluids.

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Adults may also feel concerned about how they will feel after receiving laughing gas. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off quickly, usually within minutes of stopping inhalation. Nitrous oxide will induce a state of relaxation, which may be accompanied by a tingling or heavy sensation in the arms and legs, as well as light-headedness. Typically, nitrous oxide does not cause discomfort or negative side effects. However, if a patient experiences any pain or discomfort, it’s essential to inform the general dentist immediately. Headaches or nausea may occur afterward, but these symptoms should also dissipate quickly.

Nitrous oxide may not be suitable for everyone

Although laughing gas is commonly used and considered safe for pain and anxiety management, it can have serious effects on certain individuals. Healthline warns that some patients may be allergic to nitrous oxide. Allergic reactions to laughing gas can include difficulty breathing, hives, and fever. Pregnant women may not be able to undergo nitrous oxide procedures and should discuss alternative options with a general dentist.

A patient’s medical history is crucial in determining whether nitrous oxide is a suitable choice. Individuals with a history of mental health conditions, vitamin B-12 deficiencies, substance use, or respiratory illnesses may experience long-term effects from laughing gas. It is important to discuss these conditions with your general dentist before considering nitrous oxide.


Nitrous oxide can be an excellent choice to alleviate pain and anxiety during dental treatment. However, it is not suitable for everyone. Consult with your general dentist to determine if laughing gas is the right option for your next procedure.

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