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“What does nitrous oxide sedation feel like?” and Other FAQs

If you are afraid of the dentist or need a lot of dental work done, then nitrous oxide sedation may be right for you. Nitrous oxide sedation (also called laughing gas) can help you relax into dental procedures without completely putting you to sleep. As a result, it is a great way to relieve dental anxiety and pain at the dentist’s office.

Dr. Gary Horblitt has been helping patients in Fairfield, CT, get the comfortable dental care that they deserve for over 30 years. Schedule an appointment online, or call (203) 335-1011 to meet our gentle dentist today.

If you have never experienced laughing gas, then it is natural to have some questions about it. In today’s blog post, our Fairfield dentist answers some of your questions about nitrous oxide sedation.

What is nitrous oxide sedation?

Nitrous oxide (often shortened to ‘nitrous’) is a gaseous chemical compound consisting of approximately 50% nitrogen and 50% oxygen. Dentists administer the gas by applying a mask over a patient’s face while the patient breathes in a steady flow of nitrous.

The flow of nitrous works to reduce anxiety and pain during dental procedures. Experts believe that the gas blocks some receptors in the brain while stimulating others, ultimately leading to a blissful experience.

Does nitrous oxide have a smell or taste?

Yes, nitrous oxide has a slightly sweet smell and taste. However, some patients do not smell or taste the gas at all.

What does nitrous oxide sedation feel like?

Each patient may feel something different, but most patients report a pleasant feeling while under conscious sedation. In general, nitrous oxide encourages feelings of:

  • Happiness
  • Relaxation
  • Giddiness
  • Lightness

Is conscious sedation safe?

Yes, conscious sedation is safe, even for children. Dentists carefully control the flow of nitrous to prevent over-administering the sedative.

Not only that, but the effects of nitrous are remarkably short-lived. The effects of laughing gas typically wear off within minutes of removing the nitrous mask. So, if patients do not like the way they feel under conscious sedation, then removing the mask quickly restores their sensation and awareness.

Are there any bad side effects of laughing gas?

There are very few bad side effects of laughing gas, and many patients believe that the benefits outweigh the negatives. Nevertheless, common side effects may include:

  • Confusion
  • Loss of balance
  • Trouble remembering
  • Fatigue
  • Bodily weakness
  • Shivering
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Patients often compare laughing gas to the intoxicating effects of alcohol. Luckily, nitrous oxide sedation with a trained dentist wears off much faster than alcohol without causing any lasting damage to the body or brain.

Can I drive home after nitrous oxide sedation?

Yes, patients may drive themselves home as soon as the effects of the laughing gas wear off. Swapping nitrous gas with pure oxygen can help patients regain clarity and function faster.

Sedation Dentistry in Fairfield, CT

Don’t let upcoming dental work scare you–ask for sedation dentistry with our dentist in Fairfield, CT. Not sure if it’s right for you? No problem! Contact our team now at (203) 335-1011 or online here to learn more!


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