Hollywood has done a great job showing characters cracking up after getting laughing gas. But is that true? Does laughing gas really make you laugh? If so, how can this be beneficial for patients visiting their dentist in Hagerstown? In reality, laughing gas, also known as nitrous oxide, can make you laugh, but there are plenty of other benefits besides the mood boost.
How Laughing Gas Works
Many dentists use laughing gas, which is just a mix of nitrous oxide and oxygen, to help reduce anxiety and make patients more comfortable. Nitrous oxide can help minimize any pain associated with dental treatment. Even though this is a form of sedation dentistry, patients will remain conscious throughout their appointment.
Is It Safe?
Nitrous oxide is deemed safe by the American Dental Association. However, one reason that it’s safe to use in dentistry is that the patient, as well as the dosage, is monitored the entire time.
Another great thing about nitrous oxide is that there are few side effects, and the medication wears off quickly. Most patients can return to their normal day after treatment. Keep in mind that we may still recommend that someone drive you after your appointment.
Patients may also get giggly, hence the name laughing gas. This happens because of the way nitrous oxide interacts with the brain. Patients may also feel relaxed, euphoric, and tingling in the extremities.
Some other common, yet temporary, side effects of laughing gas that can be felt during or after administration include:
Patients are advised to eat only a small meal or snack before sedation dentistry appointments to help reduce the likelihood of nausea.
Who Should Get Laughing Gas?
Laughing gas isn’t for everyone, so make sure to talk with your dentist in Hagerstown to see if it’s a good option for you. Some people that may benefit from laughing gas or another form of sedation dentistry include those who:
- Will be having a longer procedure
- Have trouble sitting still
- Have a strong gag reflex
- Experience dental fear
How Is Laughing Gas Administered?
Laughing gas is easy to administer. Your dentist in Hagerstown will place a small mask over your nose and ask you to breathe normally. With each breath, you’ll inhale a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. When treatment is finished, you’ll breathe pure oxygen to help flush out any leftover nitrous particles.
Dental fear or any apprehension about upcoming dental appointments shouldn’t stop you from getting the care you need and deserve. Always talk to your dentist about your concerns and if nitrous oxide or sedation dentistry is right for you.