Nitrous Oxide Sedation or Laughing Gas

Nitrous oxide or laughing gas is used in dentistry to reduce anxiety and make procedures more comfortable. Nitrous oxide is administered through a nose piece that you wear throughout the procedure. It takes only a few minutes to set and has minimal side effects. The sensation of being on nitrous oxide is  relaxation with a feeling similar to lightness or floating, Once the nitrous oxide is shut off at the end of the appointment, it only takes a few minutes to wear off - so you are able to drive home and continue with your daily activities as usual.

Oral and Intravenous (IV) Sedation

As an alternative to nitrous oxide, a sedative can be given orally or through a vein (IV). This type of sedative has three effects:

  1. Consciousness: reduces your level of consciousness, making you very sleepy
  2. Relaxation: reduces your level of anxiety and making you feel emotionally more comfortable
  3. Memory: has an effect called anterograde amnesia which means you don't remember the appointment
Sedation with this type of medication takes longer to wear off, therefore you need someone to drive you home and you will need to take the rest of the day off.