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Laughing Gas at the Dental Office – What You Should Know

Laughing Gas in Lincoln, NE: Reduce Your Dental Anxiety

Do you have a strong gag reflex? Are you someone who feels debilitating dental anxiety about your upcoming appointment(s)? Does your child need to be still for a long dental appointment? Any of these situations could benefit from the use of laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, to ensure that you have a successful dental visit. But what is laughing gas, what is it used for, and are there any associated risks?

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To help you better understand, we’ll answer the following commonly asked questions about laughing gas (nitrous oxide) including:

Is nitrous oxide safe at the dentist?

Can you still feel pain with laughing gas?

Who should not get nitrous oxide?

What are the side effects of nitrous oxide?

In addition, we’ve also answered some commonly asked questions about laughing gas for children.

Laughing Gas in Lincoln, NE: What Does It Do?

Image of a woman relaxing in a dental chair. Laughing gas for dental anxiety can make your dental visit more enjoyable and less stressful.

Nitrous oxide, laughing gas, is a very mild sedative that safely and effectively helps manage dental anxiety and pain during various forms of treatment. Nitrous oxide is odorless and colorless; it is mixed with oxygen and is then inhaled through a small mask that fits over the nasal passage (nose). Patients breathe normally and generally feel the effects of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, within a matter of minutes.

Contrary to the name, “laughing gas” doesn’t necessarily make you laugh but rather slows down the nervous system, thus making you feel very relaxed. On occasion, some people feel tingly, light-headed, and at times might even experience heaviness in the legs and arms. The end result of Nitrous Oxide leaves you feeling calm and comfortable and ultimately, allows you to get the dental treatment you need and deserve.


Dental Office Laughing Gas “Near Me” – What’s the Benefit?

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Simply put, dentists often choose nitrous oxide sedation because it is very safe and very effective. Laughing gas does work quickly and is able to relax patients. The after-effects do wear off quickly just by breathing pure oxygen. Another added benefit is that nitrous oxide does not put you to sleep. Thus, you can still hear and respond to any of the dentist’s questions or instructions – similar to oral sedation in the form of a pill, except oral sedation does not allow you to drive yourself to and from your appointment.


Laughing Gas in Lincoln, NE: What are the Side Effects?

Image of a happy woman who received nitrous oxide, laughing gas from a dentist in Lincoln, NE.

Most patients have no adverse reactions to nitrous oxide (laughing gas). However, adverse reactions can occur if the amount being inhaled suddenly changes or if nitrous oxide levels rise too high. If side effects do occur they could include:

  • Headaches
  • Sleepiness
  • Shivering
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

After the laughing gas has been turned off, patients must continue to receive oxygen for a minimum of five minutes to help avoid headaches. Oxygen assists in purging any remaining nitrous oxide within the lungs while aiding the patient in becoming more alert. To help prevent any nausea or vomiting, patients can eat lightly before the procedure; do, however, avoid large meals for up to three hours post-procedure. Be sure to ask your dentist whether or not it will be safe for you to drive after your procedure.

Laughing Gas At the Dental Office: What is it Used For?

Image of Dr. Kelly O'Hara, a dentist in Lincoln, NE, at Lincoln Family Dentistry. talking to a patient about the benefits of laughing gas.

The AAPD, or American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, recommends the use of nitrous oxide for these clinical indications:

  • Patients who are anxious, fearful, or uncooperative
  • Patients who have special health care needs
  • Patients with strong gag reflexes that interfere with dental care
  • Patients that don’t respond well or adequately to local anesthesia
  • Younger patients who must undergo long dental procedures

Laughing Gas: Nitrous Oxide for Children in Lincoln, NE

Image of Dr. Kelly O'Hara, a dentist in Lincoln, NE, at Lincoln Family Dentistry. Dr. O'Hara knows and understands the benefits of laughing gas for children.

You might be wondering if nitrous oxide is truly safe for children? The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states that nitrous oxide, laughing gas, is, in most cases, acceptable for children and can be easily titrated, or adjusted.

Oftentimes, children show a fair amount of enthusiasm for using laughing gas and report feeling a warming or tingling sensation. The use of laughing gas during children’s dentistry can help expedite procedures that require a child not to move for an extended period.

Some children, however, may have difficulty wearing the mask or experience nausea. Be sure to discuss options pertaining to sedation dentistry for children with your “dentist for children near me in Lincoln, NE” when planning any dental treatment.

Commonly Asked Questions about Nitrous Oxide for Children in Lincoln, NE

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Is nitrous oxide for children safe?

Our kid friendly dentist in Lincoln, NE says...

YES! Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, for children is extremely safe. Nitrous oxide is an excellent way to help your child relax and remain calm during their dental visit.

To ensure your child is a good candidate, our dentist in Lincoln, NE for children, will thoroughly review all health history to verify that they don’t have any complications or medications that could interact with the use of laughing gas.

If our dentist for children in Lincoln, NE, doesn’t feel nitrous oxide is a good choice for your little one, they will explore and discuss other available options with you. After all, your child’s comfort is our number one priority.

How does nitrous oxide for children work?

Our gentle dentist for teens and kids in Lincoln, NE explains that...
Using laughing gas is easy – laughing gas, administered through a mask, works almost immediately and is continuously breathed.

Once your child’s procedure is over, the laughing gas mask will be removed, and oxygen will be administered. The administration of oxygen will occur for approximately five minutes after the procedure.

How will my child feel with laughing gas? Are there side effects with nitrous oxide (laughing gas) sedation?

Our gentle dentist for kids in Lincoln, NE explains that...

Using laughing gas in children is very safe. Laughing gas allows children to remain awake with a very relaxed feeling. Thus, they can get the dental treatment they need and deserve!

In some cases, however, laughing gas can cause children to feel tingly, lightheaded, floaty, and for some, giggly.

As with the administration of any medication in children, side effects are possible and could include: nausea, vomiting, shivering, sweating, dizziness, and fatigue. Because nitrous oxide wears off quickly, there should not be any long-term side effects.

If you feel your child is experiencing prolonged effects from nitrous oxide, don’t hesitate to contact our dentist for children in Lincoln, NE – they’d be happy to help.

How do I prepare my child for nitrous oxide for children in Lincoln, NE?

Our gentle family, teen, and children's dentist in Lincoln, NE answers that...
As with any medical procedure for children, it’s always a good idea to discuss with them what they can expect beforehand. Be honest with them and use terms they can understand.

If it’s easier, use fun terminology to help familiarize them with the procedure, which may help alleviate extra confusion and avoid creating additional anxiety.

Will my child receive too much laughing gas?

Our dentist for kids in Lincoln, NE says...
The short answer is, no, they should not. Laughing gas is one of the safest, most widely used forms of dental sedation. An excellent benefit of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is that it is easily adjusted (titrated) depending on how the child responds.

The after-effects are very short-lived and, on average, last only minutes. If nitrous oxide is not a good option for your child, our kid-friendly dentist in Lincoln, NE, will help you and your child explore other options to ensure their comfort in the dental chair.

Laughing Gas – Who isn’t a Candidate?

Image of Dr. Kathryn Alderman talking to a patient about laughing gas at her Lincoln, NE dental clinic.

While nitrous oxide is considered a very effective and very safe sedative, it still might not be the “right” choice. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry does list several risk factors regarding the use of laughing gas. Please talk to your dentist and inform them of any of the following conditions:

  • You are currently in your first trimester of pregnancy
  • A history of respiratory illnesses such as (COPD) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • A deficiency in vitamin B-12 
  • A history of any substance abuse
  • Enzyme condition known as methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency
  • A history of any mental health conditions

Nitrous oxide used by a gentle family dentist, or a pediatric dentist, can be an extremely useful tool for easing dental pain and dental anxiety during various dental procedures. If you think you or your child could benefit from using laughing gas for your next appointment or procedure, be sure to talk to your dentist about your options.

Commonly Asked Questions About Nitrous Oxide and its use at the Dental Office…

Image of a happy young woman who received nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, for her dental procedure from a dentist in Lincoln, NE.

Can you still feel pain with laughing gas?

In short, nitrous oxide affects the nervous system, which, in turn, will lessen pain sensitivity. Nitrous oxide can help patients remain calm by reducing dental anxiety. There is also a chance that depending upon the procedure you are having performed; the dentist may still use a local anesthetic to help reduce any additional discomfort.

Is nitrous oxide safe at the dentist?

Image of a happy young man who received nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, for his dental procedure from a dentist in Lincoln, NE.

When used appropriately, the combination of oxygen and nitrous oxide used at the dentist is safe. The use of nitrous oxide is a highly effective and safe way to help reduce dental pain and anxiety, allowing patients to get the dental care they need and deserve.

How long does nitrous oxide last at the dentist?

After the mask has been removed, nitrous oxide effects will last approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Another benefit of nitrous oxide is that you should not experience any “hangover” type effects, which means patients should be able to drive themselves home after their procedure safely. It is essential to discuss all post-procedural plans with your Lincoln, NE dentist to ensure safety. 

Who should not get nitrous oxide?

Image of a young woman learned about the benefits of laughing gas from a dentist in Lincoln, NE at Lincoln Family Dentistry.

Individuals who should not receive nitrous oxide at the dentist include:

  • Patients who have current respiratory infections.
  • Patients who have a compromised immune system.
  • Patients who have multiple sclerosis.
  • Those who have a blocked middle ear.
  • Repeat exposure to nitrous oxide less than one week apart.

The above conditions are in addition to the following contraindications (previously listed in this article):

  • You are currently in your first trimester of pregnancy.
  • You have a history of respiratory illnesses such as (COPD) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • You have a deficiency of vitamin B-12.
  • You have a history of substance abuse (marajuana or hallucinogenic drugs).
  • Enzyme condition is known as methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency.
  • Present with a history of any mental health conditions.

If you are unsure whether or not you have had any of the above procedures, be sure to check with any treating physicians or specialists to ensure the safe use of nitrous oxide.

How much is nitrous oxide at the dentist?

On average, laughing gas at the dentist’s office costs approximately $80 to $150 for the first hour with additional fees should you require nitrous oxide that is longer than one hour. Do know that prices do vary based upon the individual dental practice.

Can you drive after laughing gas?

Image of a man who has learned about the benefits of laughing gas from a dentist near me in Lincoln, NE.

A huge benefit of nitrous oxide is that, in most cases, you can drive yourself to and from the procedure. The effects of nitrous oxide can quickly be reversed with oxygen, which means that as soon as the dentist takes the nitrous oxide away and administers oxygen, you should not have any lasting effects. Nitrous oxide is an extremely safe and effective way to ensure you get the dental care you need and deserve. 

If you have concerns about the use of nitrous oxide or have had any existing surgeries/procedures that could be a contraindication for using laughing gas, be sure to talk with your dentist or our dentists at Nebraska Family Dentistry‘s, central location (Lincoln Family Dentistry).

Does dental insurance pay for laughing gas?

Some dental insurance plans do cover the cost of nitrous oxide should it be required for the procedure. 

For the most accurate information regarding dental insurance coverage with the use of nitrous oxide, call your dental insurance provider. Your dental insurance provider will have plan-specific details and should be able to inform you as to whether or not nitrous oxide is a covered service.

What are the side effects of nitrous oxide?

Image of a happy woman who received laughing gas from a dentist in Lincoln, NE making her dental treatment much easier.

As previously stated, nitrous oxide has been proven safe and effective when used appropriately. There are, however, some minor side effects that can occur. Side effects can include nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating, fatigue, dizziness, and shivering.

Is nitrous oxide safe for elderly patients?

Nitrous oxide is safe for all ages as long as there are no contraindications and it is used appropriately by a trained medical professional. The use of nitrous oxide within the senior population can often be helpful for procedures such as tooth extractions.

Oral sedation may also be a great option for the elderly in helping reduce dental anxiety. Oral sedation comes in pill form and is offered at all seven Nebraska Family Dentistry locations. The biggest difference in oral sedation versus nitrous oxide is that with oral sedation, a driver (friend, family member, or neighbor) will need to accompany the patient to and from their appointment. 

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Image of a happy woman who learned about the benefits of laughing gas from her dentist in Lincoln, NE at Lincoln Family Dentistry.


Conclusion:

Everyone must receive dental care no matter their age. Besides ensuring you have clean teeth, routine dental visits offer much more. Unfortunately, however, many avoid the dentist because of negative past experiences, fear of the dentist, fear of needles, dental anxiety, or a combination of many things. Avoiding the dentist can, in turn, present the need for lengthy or invasive dental procedures down the road.

No matter what, experiencing any of these things can have a negative impact on our dental health and, ultimately, our overall health. But, the good news is that things like oral sedation and nitrous oxide have changed dentistry. Using a form of mild sedation can allow you to get the dental care you need and deserve without having to experience all the discomfort or anxiety that can accompany dental visits. 

Your oral health and comfort are our priority. Our dentists in Lincoln, NE, have helped many patients overcome their dental fears, and they can help you, too! Talk with one of our Lincoln, NE dentists today to  see if you might benefit from the use of laughing gas at your next appointment. Let us show you the Nebraska Family Dentistry way of doing dentistry!