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Can Laughing Gas Put You To Sleep?

May 10, 2022

Dental anxiety prevents a lot of people from getting even their most basic needs addressed. Luckily, there are ways for people even with high levels of fear of the dentist to overcome this with dental sedation.

One type of dental sedation you might have heard of is laughing gas, otherwise known as nitrous oxide. It’s a safe and mild anesthetic given through a mask and mixed with oxygen. The patient inhales the gas and feels more relaxed, able to sit through their appointment without problems.

Laughing gas will not put you to sleep the way other types of sedation, such as general anesthesia, do. You will feel a bit lightheaded, but fully awake and able to communicate with the dentist. But, there are other things about laughing gas you should know.

What to Know about Laughing Gas and Its Effects

Nitrous oxide is considered a mild sedative and generally safe for most patients, including children. The effects of the gas wear off rather quickly, so if you receive such a sedative you will walk out of the appointment on your own two feet, and even be able to drive home!

However, some effects could linger a bit after getting this sedation, but they usually wear off completely in less than a few minutes as you continue to breathe in oxygen to remove the gas from your system. Still, it’s important to know these effects to truly understand what will happen to your body:

  • Feeling a tingling sensation in your body;
  • Mild nausea;
  • Having a slight headache, which usually presents as the gas exits your system;
  • Feeling a bit disoriented;
  • Some patients can become giggly, which is why nitrous oxide is commonly known as laughing gas.

Is Laughing Gas Safe for Me?

If you need any form of sedation, the dentist will first analyze your dental and medical history to determine which type of sedation best suits you. Laughing gas is generally considered safe for most patients, so if your procedure only calls for a mild sedative, it’s most likely that nitrous oxide will be administered.

There are some cases where patients might not be cleared for laughing gas, however. If you have trouble breathing through your nose, for instance, the dentist could recommend another type of sedative. Nitrous oxide doesn't have the same effects when breathed in through the mouth, so you might not get the same positive experience.

Southington Dentistry Is Here to Help

At Southington Dentistry, we understand you might be fearful of the dentist, and equally fearful of sedation, even mild ones like laughing gas. It’s why we’re here to help our patients make informed decisions regarding their dental help and take the time to explain all procedures and treatments in detail.


To get started, please book an appointment with Dr. Neil Salesky today and stop by our practice.

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