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What Does Laughing Gas Do?

Most dental visits are standard, meaning a dental hygienist will scrape plaque from your teeth’s surfaces and polish them to lift stains. You can also expect your dentist to take a peek under your tongue to check for signs of illness. However, not all your visits go this smoothly, and you may need to undergo an oral surgery that requires laughing gas administration. 

You have undoubtedly heard of laughing gas, but do you know what it does? Find out more about this substance in today’s blog. 

Information on Laughing Gas

Laughing gas, scientifically known as nitrous oxide, is a local sedation method. It’s both color-less and odor-less. Laughing gas is one of the most effective sedatives because it relaxes patients with the pleasurable feelings it emits. 

Continue reading to learn about the potential side effects of laughing gas. 

Short-Term Effects of Laughing Gas

Most patients who receive laughing gas don’t experience adverse reactions. However, someone might experience side effects as a result of inhaling too much gas.

Short-term side effects include:

  • Shivering
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

Sadly, some people experience hallucinations or sound distortion after inhaling this substance, but these occurrences are rare. Some oral surgeons administer oxygen alongside the laughing gas. Other surgeons administer oxygen for five minutes once they turn off the nitrous oxide equipment. Oxygen helps balance out the effects laughing gas can have on the body so that you might feel alert again minutes after your procedure. Inhaling oxygen can also help you avoid the side effects of laughing gas altogether. 

You should be able to drive home after inhaling laughing gas, but we recommend you wait 15 minutes after your procedure, so it exits your system. 

Some people have allergic reactions to laughing gas, so watch out for the following signs:

  • Chills
  • Hives
  • Fever
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing

Visit urgent care immediately if you experience these symptoms. 

Long-Term Effects of Laughing Gas

Currently, there are no known long-term side effects to inhaling laughing gas; however, problems may arise if you experience long-term exposure to it. Some of the harmful effects of long-term exposure to this gas can include vitamin B-12 deficiency and developing anemia. 

Your dentist or oral surgeon knows the precise amount to administer, so you shouldn’t worry about inhaling too much of it for an extended period; this is why it’s important to only consult with board-certified dental professionals. 

You may not be able to inhale laughing gas if you experience the following:

  • A mental health condition
  • A history of substance abuse
  • A respiratory illness, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • You’re in the first trimester of pregnancy

Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah is Here for You

Sedation can be an intimidating prospect to individuals who have never had surgery. The board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah have spent years doing anesthesia training to ensure that you have a positive experience.

We specialize in tooth extraction, dental implant insertion, bone grafting, corrective jaw surgery, and more.

We have offices in South Jordan, Cottonwood Heights, and Tooele. Schedule your free consultation today


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