We all know that a visit to the dentist may be less than exciting. If you have a serious problem and have to get a complicated procedure it may not be very pleasant, at least many patients think so. Statistics says that nearly 75% of adults in the US experience some kind of fear regarding their dental visit.  Dental appointments can be nerve-wracking  if you have a dental phobia. In such situations, we advise to visit a sedation dentistry near you.

Watch this video to learn about local anesthesia and conscious sedation. Educating yourself will help reduce your dental anxiety.

Solutions for Dental Anxiety

Sedation dentistry helps thousands of patients each year with their dental anxiety. If you associate with one of the following scenarios, sedation dentistry might be a good solution for your anxiety:

  • People suffering from strong dental anxiety.

  • People who have had previous negative experiences at a dental office.

  • People who struggle to gain complete numbness for procedures.

  • People who receive multiple dental procedures in one appointment.

Nitrous Oxide or Laughing Gas

Nitrous Oxide, also knows as laughing gas, is the most common sedation method. Nitrous oxide has no odor or color, and  has a slightly sweet taste. With nitrous oxide the patient experiences warm, positive sensations and feels relaxed. Many patients find nitrous oxide is a great solution to help them overcome fear and dental anxiety during procedures. The sedation effect starts within minutes, and the effect wears off within minutes after the mask is removed.

Side Effects of Nitrous Oxide

In general,  nitrous oxide is safe to use on most people and doesn’t have severe side effects. Few patients may experience some negative effects. Negative side effects may occur if nitrous level is too high or there is a sudden change in level of nitrous oxide. The side effects may include nausea, headache, increased sleepiness, and/or excessive sweating or shivering.

During and After The Procedure 

It is recommended to not consume a big meal at least three hours prior sedation to avoid nausea.  

Nitrous oxide sedation is received through a special mask while the patient is in the dental chair. The patient will breathe the sedation gas for the duration of the procedure. The nitrous oxide will make the patient feel sleepy and relaxed. The patient will still be conscious and aware of what is happening, but will feel dreamy and floaty, warm, and experience tingling in their hands and feet. Throughout the procedure dental assistant will monitor the level of sedation to ensure that the patient can cooperate and follow verbal instructions. Local anesthesia injections may also be given while the patient is sedated to ensure numbness in the mouth.

Recovery from the effects of nitrous oxide is very quick after it is turned off. The patient will receive oxygen for about five minutes to remove the remnant gas from lungs, gain alertness and prevent a headache. The patient will be allowed to drive after the procedure after their Archer Dental sedation dentist permits to do so.

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Is Nitrous Oxide Safe for Children?

Yes, nitrous oxide or laughing gas is safe for children. In fact, it is considered a preferred method of sedation for children who are anxious or nervous about seeing a dentist. Some children may reject wearing the mask, in that case nitrous oxide may not be the right type of sedation for them. Parents should be aware that some children might experience nausea after nitrous oxide.

When Nitrous Oxide Should Not Be Used

While nitrous oxide is an easy and effective sedative it may not be the right choice for everyone. Patients may not receive nitrous oxide if they:

  • Have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

  • Suffer from methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency.

  • Have cobalamin deficiency.

  • Possess a history of drug addiction or emotional issues.

  • Are in the first trimester of pregnancy.

  • Are receiving a treatment in which bleomycin sulfate is used.

The takeaway

Laughing gas is a safe, common sedation method. It’s appropriate for both adults and children to relieve dental anxiety. However, mild side effects can occur after use in some patients.

Nitrous oxide doen’t have lasting effects and the patient may drive shortly after procedure with the dentist’s permission. Just make sure to share all details of your medical history with your dentist before a procedure. Based on your current health, your dentist can determine whether you’re a candidate for this method of sedation.

If you or a loved one suffer from dental anxiety, call us today at 773-581-1345 to schedule your appointment. At Archer Dental, we make it our priority to deliver gentle dental care with the help of our sedation dentists in Chicago. We look forward to meeting you!

Dental Glossary
Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry refers to any dental work that improves the appearance of patient's teeth/gums/bite.

Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety is a term used to describe fear of going to a dentist. Dental anxiety can be associated with needles, drills or dental setting in general.

Preventive Dentistry

Preventive dentistry focuses on maintaining oral health in order to prevent the spread tooth decay and infections in the mouth.

Conscious Sedation

Conscious sedation is a combination of medicines to help patient relax and to block pain during a dental procedure. The patient will remain awake, but may not be able to speak.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide is a gas that is used in medicine as a mild sedative. When combined with oxygen, nitrous oxide is a safe and effective way to manage pain and anxiety in dentistry. 


Sedation is the reduction of irritability or anxiety by administration of sedative drugs. Sedations is used to facilitate a medical or diagnostic procedures.