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Pre-Operative Instructions for Nitrous Oxide (Adults)

Nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas, is given to some patients to help them relax during their dental visits. Nitrous Oxide is a blend of oxygen and nitrous oxide, which is administered through a small breathing mask that is placed over the nose. This allows you to relax and remain comfortable without being put to sleep. This technique is recognized by the American Dental Association as very safe and effective.

The nitrous oxide gas is easily taken and mild, which is why it’s quickly eliminated from the body with normal breathing. It’s nonaddictive, and it will keep you fully conscious and in control of your natural reflexes.

Prior to Your Appointment:

  • Inform our office of any changes to your health.
  • Tell us about any respiratory issues that may make breathing through your nose difficult.
  • Let us know if you’ve taken any medication on the day of your appointment.
  • Refrain from eating or drinking for at least 2 hours before your visit. It’s possible for you to become nauseous if you have food on your stomach.
  • Post-Operative Instructions for Nitrous Oxide (Adults)

    To avoid chances of nausea after treatment, don’t eat or drink anything for about 2 hours after your appointment. However, limited clean liquids like water can be consumed around the time of your treatment.

    Nitrous oxide wears off quickly so you can drive home after your appointment, but it’s a good idea to have a friend or family member as a diver because everyone has a different response to the treatment. If you’ve taken any prescriptions that can intensify the effects of nitrous oxide, you should definitely have someone to escort you. While it’s cleared from your system swiftly, nitrous oxide can cause exhaustion. However, this is much more likely to occur in children than adults.

    It’s important to know that prolonged exposure to nitrous oxide over multiple appointments can affect the central nervous system, which is why we exercise caution and warn our patients to never use this treatment recreationally. Additionally, pregnant women are not candidates for nitrous oxide sedation.

    Nitrous oxide can make you feel like you’ve had a few glasses of wine, but the difference is that you’ll return to normal alertness quickly after your procedure. Some patients may not like this feeling or are uncomfortable under the nose piece. The nitrous can be stopped at any time, but we encourage you to breathe pure oxygen for about 5 to 10 minutes to reduce the likelihood of an intense headache or fatigue.

    Some patients report that they feel the effects of nitrous wear off mid-procedure, and other say they don’t feel its effects at all. That’s because some patients tolerate nitrous oxide differently than others. If you have any questions or concerns about treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact our office!

    We sincerely appreciate the opportunity to provide you with quality oral healthcare.