The Use of Nitrous Oxide in Dentistry

480865629Dental anxiety is a real thing and is very common in both adults and children. While some adults suffering from dental anxiety tend to have ways to cope, there are those that have a hard time entertaining the idea of sitting in the dentist’s chair long enough to finish even a simple checkup.

In these cases, the dentist may suggest a form of medicine to help a patient feel more relaxed or sleepy, but still widely conscious. The patient will still be able to move around and respond normally to voice, as well as other stimuli.

More often than not, the effects of the medicine will last until the treatment is finished.

One form of medicine commonly used by dentists is Nitrous Oxide

What is Nitrous Oxide?

Commonly referred to as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is used to help patients who are mildly or moderately anxious or nervous. It eases their fear of the dentist and makes them feel more comfortable. The effect often lasts throughout the whole treatment, calming the patient and allowing the dentist to proceed safely with the treatment.

Nitrous oxide is mixed with oxygen, then the patient is asked to wear a mask and breathe in the laughing gas through their nose. Slowly, it will take effect and will eventually make the feel comfortable, even giddy in some cases.

The dentist will often adjust the levels of the gas administered, depending on the type of treatment involved. Also, dentists have received the necessary training and education to know how to prevent their patients from being overdosed.


The main benefit of nitrous oxide is that it is inhaled through a mask, which makes the ideal option for patients who are afraid of needles. Also, since it is in gas form, it tends to take effect quickly.

The effects quickly wear off as well, and the gas is often completely gone from the patient’s body just five minutes after the mask is taken off. This makes it possible for patients to move around normally as they would and even drive safely without needing someone to accompany them to-and-from the dentist’s office.

Nitrous oxide can also be used by just about anyone, from kids, to adults, to even people who have pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.


Of course, nitrous oxide is not perfect. It will not work for patients who are extremely anxious or are deathly afraid of sitting still in a dentist’s chair. Also, while this is a rare occurrence, nitrous oxide has been known to induce vomiting and nausea.

Those who have a cold or difficulty breathing through their nose are advised to postpone their treatment until they feel better.

Patients feel uncomfortable wearing an oxygen mask are advised to stay away from nitrous oxide sedation.

Patients who are suffering from medical conditions, such as emphysema and multiple sclerosis are not good candidates for nitrous oxide sedation. The same goes for pregnant women, specifically, those who are in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Generally, however, nitrous oxide is one of the safest ways to sedate patients and calm them down enough to receive treatment safely and comfortable.

If you’re concerned about whether or not nitrous oxide sedation is safe for you, be sure to discuss it with your doctor or a local dentist.

If you feel that would benefits from nitrous oxide, contact Dr. Clive Rosenbusch DDS at 561-394-7888 to see if you would be a good candidate. Visit to learn more about Dr. Clive Rosenbusch and his team.