Four Things You Should Know About Laughing Gas

Laughing Gas In Dentistry: What Is It? – Your Dentist Near Me In Lincoln, NE Explains

Image of a woman relaxing in a dental chair. Laughing gas in Lincoln, NE is a safe, effective way to ensure you get the dental care you need and deserve.

Nitrous oxide is a gas that is not only colorless but also odorless. As you might know, Nitrous Oxide is also commonly referred to as “laughing gas”. When nitrous gas is inhaled, it slows down reaction time. Thus, the feeling of nitrous gas results in a euphoric, calm feeling.

Nitrous oxide can be used to treat discomfort and pain. In addition, nitrous gas can also function as a mild sedative. Because of this property, nitrous gas can sometimes be used for dental procedures to help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.

Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is also very effective as a sedative. However, the good news is that it doesn’t take long for the effects of nitrous gas to wear off, thus making it very safe. However, keep in mind that there are possible side effects, just like any other drug type. 

Here we’ll answer the following commonly asked questions about nitrous oxide in dentistry:

Why do some dentists not use laughing gas?

Do I need laughing gas for a root canal?

Can I ask for laughing gas at the dentist?

Does laughing gas work?

First Thing To Know…

Potential Short-Term Side Effects Associated with The Use Of Laughing Gas In Dentistry

What Are They?

Image of a young woman wondering about the short-term side effects of laughing gas in Lincoln, NE.

Although there are possible side effects from nitrous oxide inhalation, those who receive laughing gas often don’t have any complications or adverse reactions whatsoever.

When side effects do occur, they often result from inhaling the gas too quickly or result from the inhalation of too much gas.

What are some common short-term side effects? Common short-term effects include:

  • dizziness
  • excessive sweating
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • Shivering

On occasion, some people will also experience sound distortion or hallucinations after inhaling nitrous oxide or laughing gas. When receiving laughing gas, oxygen is frequently administered. Suppose your provider chooses not to administer oxygen along with the nitrous gas. In that case, you will likely receive oxygen for about three to five minutes after your dentist in Lincoln, NE, turns off the laughing gas.

Why do you need oxygen? Oxygen will aid in clearing any remaining nitrous gas from within your body. The use of oxygen will also help you regain alertness after completing your procedure. Getting sufficient oxygen can also help prevent headaches, another possible side effect associated with the use of laughing gas in dentistry.

After receiving laughing gas at your dental appointment, it is likely that you will be able to drive yourself home safely – but you must wait until you’re fully awake and alert. This, on average, takes approximately 15 minutes.

To prepare your body for laughing gas, eat a light meal before your procedure. This can prevent any nausea and vomiting resulting from receiving nitrous oxide. Once your dental procedure is complete, avoid any heavy meals for at least three hours after receiving laughing gas.

Be mindful of any signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction after nitrous gas use – symptoms or signs of an allergic reaction might include:

  • chills
  • hives
  • difficulty breathing
  • fever
  • Wheezing

If you have any of the signs or symptoms listed above, seek immediate medical attention.

Second Thing To Know…

Potential Long-Term Side Effects Associated with The Use Of  Laughing Gas In Dentistry

Are There Any?

Image of a dental chair at Nebraska Family Dentistry in Lincoln, NE. Our gentle dentists offer laughing gas in Lincoln, NE at select locations.

Any side effects from the use of nitrous oxide in dentistry typically will reverse themselves rather quickly. Laughing gas is not known to cause any long-term side effects.

If you develop unusual symptoms after receiving laughing gas or if a side effect continues for a prolonged period after your procedure, talk with your Lincoln, NE dentist.

Keep in mind that although nitrous oxide is exceptionally safe, it’s not recommended for use by everyone. Your Lincoln, NE dentist or doctor will determine whether nitrous gas is appropriate for you based on your medical history.

Although there have not been any known long-term side effects, the long-term exposure or misuse of nitrous oxide in a working environment could cause long-term complications. There are, however, some contraindications or reasons you should not receive laughing gas. They include:

  • Being in the first trimester of pregnancy
  • A history of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or other respiratory illness
  • Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) deficiency
  • You have a Vitamin B-12, cobalamin deficiency
  • History of any mental health conditions
  • History of substance use disorders

Toxic exposure could lead to anemia or a vitamin B-12 deficiency. A vitamin B-12 deficiency that is severe enough can cause damage to nerves resulting in numbness or tingling in your limbs, including fingers and toes.

Third Thing To Know…

Side Effects Associated with The Use Of  Nitrous Gas In Dentistry with Children, Including Toddlers –

Is It Safe?

Image of a happy child who is a good candidate for nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is a safe, effective way to get the treatment you need and deserve.

Laughing gas is considered safe for children, including toddlers. Like adults, children (including toddlers) who receive nitrous gas could experience short-term side effects, which include:

  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • shivering
  • headache
  • Vomiting

Your child may also appear irritable or slightly disoriented after receiving nitrous oxide. Again, just as in adults, these effects will wear off quickly and won’t cause any long-term problems.

Fourth Thing To Know…

Symptoms of A Nitrous Oxide Overdose

How Will You Know?

Although laughing gas is safe when administered adequately within the medical field, there is still a potential risk of overdose. An overdose of laughing gas can occur from receiving too much of the gas or long-term exposure.

Signs of a possible overdose might include:

  • Irritation of the throat, eyes, and nose
  • Coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness or choking
  • Seizures
  • Bluish toes, fingers, and lips
  • Increased, rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Hallucinations or psychosis

You could also experience an increase in blood pressure, which ultimately can increase the risk of a stroke or heart attack.

There is also a possibility of brain damage if a person does receive a large dose of nitrous gas without an appropriate amount of oxygen. If left untreated, an overdose of nitrous gas could cause coma or even death.

It is important to note that any overdose effects require an amount that is several times greater than what someone would receive at their Lincoln, NE dental clinic.

Our Lincoln, NE dentists are trained to safely deliver laughing gas in their Lincoln, NE dental clinic. Laughing gas remains one of the most tried and true methods of ensuring those with dental fear or dental anxiety get the treatment they need and deserve. Our skilled Lincoln dentists can help you determine if laughing gas is right for you.

Commonly Asked Questions About Laughing Gas, Nitrous Oxide in Dentistry:

Image of a happy woman who has learned about the benefits of laughing gas from her dentist in Lincoln, NE.

Why do some dentists choose not to use laughing gas?

Some dentists choose not to use nitrous oxide simply because setup costs are extremely expensive and can cost, on average, between $10,000 to $20,000. In addition, given that laughing gas must be inhaled, it can make it difficult to administer to those with respiratory concerns.

Do I need nitrous gas for a root canal?

Using nitrous oxide during root canal therapy can be a great choice. Although laughing gas is not a requirement, it can help provide a more relaxed experience.

Can I ask for nitrous oxide, laughing gas, at the dentist?

Nitrous oxide can be an excellent option for both children and adults who experience a bit of apprehension when visiting the dentist. Although nitrous oxide is one of the safest forms of sedation your dentist offers, be sure to do your research beforehand. Ultimately, with knowledge of your past medical history, your Lincoln, NE dentist will decide whether or not nitrous oxide is a safe choice for you.

Does laughing gas work?

Yes! Nitrous oxide is so safe and so effective it is often used when completing dentistry for children. The effects are short-lived and can easily be reversed. Thus, it’s an excellent choice for both children and adults.

Is happy gas the same as nitrous oxide sedation?

Nitrous oxide, also commonly referred to as happy gas or laughing gas, is all the same. Giving nitrous gas to a child during dental treatment can help lessen their discomfort and anxiety. Your child will be awake throughout the process, and the gas is administered through a little nosepiece.

How much does nitrous oxide cost?

Usually, the gas is sufficient for those who experience mild to moderate anxiety. Depending on your dentist, nitrous oxide costs often $100 or less.

How long does happy gas last?

Generally, these effects only persist after the mask has been taken off for 3-5 minutes. The nitrous oxide won’t give you a “hangover,” and you can safely drive yourself home once the treatment is over.

Is nitrous addictive?

N2O gases don’t possess any physically addictive characteristics. As a result, those who stop using nitrous oxide won’t experience any physical withdrawal symptoms like nausea, abdominal pain, or diarrhea.

Can you drive home after laughing gas?

Unlike other types of sedation, laughing/nitrous gas has no negative effects on your ability to move, think clearly, or even drive! So you don’t need to ask a friend to pick you up after the appointment to take you home.

Does happy gas put you to sleep?

Laughing gas does not put you to sleep, unlike general anesthesia. Instead, inhaling this gaseous mixture tends to make you feel a slight tingling sensation. You might also have a feeling of general numbness throughout your body and become somewhat lightheaded, but you, however, will still be able to communicate fully with your dentist.

Does happy gas get you high?

Yes, laughing gas does make you high, but that’s the whole point! The answer is “yes” if you’re wondering whether or not nitrous gas alters your mental state and gives you a “high.” The entire purpose of employing it in dentistry is for that. It modifies your mental state to make you feel more at ease and comfortable.

What happens if you have too much happy gas?

Nitrous oxide overdose can result in unconsciousness and/or oxygen deprivation suffocation. This has led to fatalities. Unsteadiness, which could cause you to behave recklessly or dangerously. Nitrous oxide abuse can result in a vitamin B12 shortage and a particular type of anemia.

Does happy gas make you laugh?

Because of the way that nitrous oxide interacts with brain chemicals like dopamine to allow patients to feel at ease and euphoric, it has acquired the nickname “the happy gas.” After a dentist delivers this sedative, the majority of patients do laugh, though some may feel queasy or lightheaded.

Conclusion Regarding the Use Of Nitrous Oxide In Dentistry:

Nitrous oxide is a well-known, prevalent and safe sedation method. Laughing gas is appropriate for both children and adults and children for use in the dental setting, and it is essential to note that side effects can still occur.

However, know that most side effects are mild, reversible, and will not cause any long-term damage. In the case of misuse or overuse, nitrous gas can prove dangerous or even life-threatening.

It is also important to know that nitrous oxide is not safe for everyone, especially those with underlying medical conditions. To ensure that nitrous oxide is safe for you, talk to your dentist in Lincoln, NE, before your procedure, and without question, be sure to share all of your past medical history. Your dentist in Lincoln, NE, can determine whether you’re a candidate for nitrous oxide based on your current health status.

Talk to your Lincoln, NE dentist today and see if nitrous oxide is right for you!

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