John S.K. Hsu D.D.S. and Virginia J. Chin D.D.S., P.C.
General Dentists located in Fairfax, VA
For people with dental anxiety, nitrous oxide is a powerful tool for overcoming those fears. At John S.K. Hsu D.D.S. and Virginia J. Chin D.D.S., P.C., Dr. Hsu and the team understands that some people don’t relish the thought of spending time in the dental chair, and he works to make sure that you are as comfortable as possible during dental work. If you’ve been delaying treatment due to dental anxiety, schedule an appointment today to get started on a path toward a happy and healthy smile.
Nitrous Oxide Q & A
What is nitrous oxide?
Nitrous oxide is a safe sedative that is sometimes known as “laughing gas.” It is a colorless, odorless gas that’s mixed with oxygen and delivered through a mask or cannula. After a few moments, you begin to feel the effects.
Most people find that nitrous oxide creates a sensation of heaviness in their arms and legs and an overall relaxation of their muscles. Some people experience tingling in their extremities or a sensation of being light-headed.
The ultimate effect of nitrous oxide is a sense of calm and comfort. That allows you to relax while your dental work is completed.
Side effects are rare, but when they do occur, they include:
- Excessive sweating
- Nausea or vomiting
Will nitrous oxide put me to sleep?
Nitrous oxide is a local sedation method that allows you to remain awake and alert during your dental work. You may feel relaxed and able to drift off, but nitrous oxide doesn’t put you to sleep.
You can respond to and interact with your dental team throughout the procedure and will be aware of what is happening around you. The effects of nitrous oxide begin to wear off relatively rapidly, and you will start to feel more alert.
Most people can drive themselves home after a procedure with nitrous oxide and can resume their normal daily activities. Some people even head back to work after their procedure is complete! Of course, any dental work is an excellent excuse to have someone drive you home so that you can take it easy for the remainder of the day.
Is nitrous oxide a good option for everyone with dental anxiety?
Nitrous oxide is a safe and effective conscious sedation option for most people, including children. However, certain conditions can make you a poor candidate for this sedation approach.
Nitrous oxide may not be right for you if you have the following conditions:
- Pregnancy in the first trimester
- Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Cobalamin deficiency
- History of drug addiction
- History of emotional disorders
If you are concerned about whether nitrous oxide is right for you, speak with Dr. Hsu about your medical history and treatment preferences.