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Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous Oxide – For a comfortable dental experience.

Do you ever feel nervous about visiting the dentist? Does your upcoming treatment make you feel anxious? If so, you may benefit from nitrous oxide sedation at our office. Nitrous oxide, is a gas that you inhale through a nose mask during your treatment. As you breathe in the nitrous oxide, which is mixed with oxygen, you will experience a relaxed, euphoric sensation. Nitrous oxide can help you feel calm and at ease throughout your treatment. Nitrous oxide sedation is very safe; the effects will wear off within just a few minutes after we remove your nose mask, and you can legally and safely drive yourself home after your appointment.

Nitrous oxide is a good option for any of our patients who suffer from dental anxiety or dental phobia. If you feel anxious because you are receiving a treatment you have not experienced before, or if you simply dislike the sounds and sights of the dental office, we may recommend nitrous oxide to help you feel more relaxed. Be certain to discuss your concerns with our dentist and dental team before your visit so we can help you feel more comfortable during your treatment.

What does nitrous oxide do?

Nitrous oxide is a safe and effective sedative agent which is combined with oxygen to help you relax by inhaling a small mask over your nose during dental procedures.  It is a sweet, colorless gas. It is also referred to as “laughing gas” used by many dentists.  It is known as “laughing gas” because it actually tickles many patients while breathing it in and can make them giggle!  Nitrous oxide is one option we use to help you comfortable but it is not meant to make you sleep.  It is simply a great way to help our patients reduce their anxiety.

Any questions or directions we may give you can be heard and answered. You will be asked to breathe normally through your nose and you should begin to experience the effects of nitrous oxide within a few minutes. In your arms, and legs, you may feel tingling and light headed. Some people say they feel heavy with their arms and legs. You should be calm and comfortable ultimately. Nitrous oxide effects will wear off shortly after the mask has been removed.

Two types of nitrous oxide delivery systems are available: portable tanks on yoke stands which can be wheeled between the operatories and larger faster systems connected to a multiple system that is capable of serving multiple operatories. Typically, nitrous oxide delivery systems are limited to a maximum of 70% nitrous oxide and 30% oxygen delivery, thus ensuring that the patient receives a minimum of 9% more oxygen than the air in the atmosphere.

There is an inherent safety margin for the administration of nitrous oxide sedation, at least 12 audio and visual safety features of the delivery system have been developed to help prevent adverse events during administration. Our table practitioners know how to maintain these features and immediately remove the face mask of the patient to allow the respiration of room air if needed.


Please ensure that your child is NOT eating or drinking anything 3 hours prior to dental treatment. A sip of water is allowed to take normal medicines. Before treatment, the mouth and teeth of your child should be clean. Before their scheduled appointment, please ensure that your child’s teeth are brushed and flossed. Patients should wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes. If your child takes prescription medicines, he / she can take them with a small sip of water on their regular schedule. Please contact our office for specific instructions if you have any questions about a specific type of medication.

As a parent or caregiver, you must consent to the dental procedure using sedation and consent. The reasons for sedation and the following risks must be understood.

In some cases, the levels of oxygen in your child may drop. If this happens, an oxygen mask will be used to give them oxygen. During the entire procedure, we will carefully check your child’s breathing. Some children may vomit due to upset stomach.  This is rare, but it can occur.

Short term affects.

Although the inhalation of nitrous oxide may cause side effects, many who receive the gas have no adverse reactions or complications whatsoever.  After inhaling nitrous oxide, some people also experience hallucinations or sound distortion. Oxygen and nitrous oxide are administered together. After the procedure our dentist may administer oxygen. Oxygen helps clear your body of any remaining gas. After your procedure, this will help you regain alertness. Getting enough oxygen can also prevent headaches, another possible side effect of laughing gas.

After receiving nitrous oxide, you should be able to drive home. But you’re going to have to wait until you’re alert. This may take around 15 minutes. Eat light meals before you receive the gas to prepare your body for nitrous oxide. Nausea and vomiting can be prevented. Also, after receiving the gas, avoid heavy meals for at least three hours.

Long term side effects.

Side effects, like headache or upset stomach are rare, but can occur.  Typically, any side effects from nitrous oxide reverses rapidly once the nitrous is removed from the patient. The gas does not seem to cause any side effects in the long term.  If at anytime during a procedure, a patient feels uncomfortable, the nitrous can be immediately removed.  Remember, it is an optional request made by you, the patient.

If you develop any unusual symptoms after receiving nitrous oxide, or if a side effect continues for hours or days after a procedure, simply give us a call. Keep in mind that while nitrous oxide is safe, it is not recommended for all. We can determine if this is a suitable sedation method for you based on your medical history.

Nitrous oxide effects in children.

Nitrous oxide is also a safe medicine for children and infants. Similar to adults, children and infants receiving nitrous oxide may experience side effects in the short term. After receiving the gas, your child may also appear a bit disoriented and irritable. Again, these effects wear off quickly and do not cause long term problems.

If you would like to learn more about how Dr. Louis and Dr. Barry Sandor use nitrous oxide in Freehold, New Jersey, to assist our services, feel free to contact us. All of us at Sandor Family Dentistry are always happy to answer your questions.