Why Do Dentists Use Laughing Gas?

Dentists use laughing gas for a variety of oral surgeries. If you need it for your procedure, it doesn’t mean something is wrong with your teeth.

Are you scared of anesthesia? Let us reassure you that it’s a safe option for most people in today’s blog.

What is Laughing Gas?

You may have seen movies and TV shows where patients uncontrollably laugh when receiving a dose of laughing gas. These portrayals make anesthesia look like a blast! But is this really how it works?

Laughing gas, also known as Nitrous oxide, is an odorless, invisible gas that dentists and oral surgeons use to calm anxious patients. It received its name because of the euphoric state it puts patients in when they inhale it. Professionals administer it using a breathing mask that fits over the patient’s nose. Although this gas doesn’t put patients to sleep, it calms their nervous system.

Discover why dentists and oral surgeons use this mild anesthetic in today’s blog.

Why We Use It

Dentists use laughing gas for most procedures, such as crowns, root canals, fillings, and ones that require them to drill into a patient’s tooth to extract decaying matter. If they didn’t use anesthetics, oral surgery would be painful, even if they did everything correctly.

For instance, root canal treatment is a standard, mild procedure. Oral surgeons remove diseased and inflamed pulp tissue and nerves. You don’t want to experience this uncomfortable sensation, which is why dentists swear by laughing gas.

Nitrous oxide numbs your mouth’s nerves to prevent them from transmitting pain signals to your brain; you won’t be able to interpret oral surgery as painful. After dental surgery, it’s common to feel mild discomfort, which is often the result of needle penetration in your gums or mouth muscles. However, laughing gas protects you from experiencing excruciating pain.

Effects of Nitrous Oxide on Your Brain

For some people, laughing gas isn’t all fun and games. When you inhale this gas, it displaces the air in your lungs and prevents oxygen from reaching your brain and blood. That’s right—oxygen deprivation is what causes you to giggle. Don’t worry; we promise it’s not as scary as it sounds!

It takes less than two minutes for the effects to wear off. You may experience mild side effects under laughing gas, such as confusion and leg pain or numbness. Some patients experience the following:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive sweating
  • Shivers

If you feel like laughing gas isn’t right for you after learning these side effects, you can ask your dentist or oral surgeon to administer alternative anesthetics. However, you should know that most patients won’t experience them.

Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah is Here for You

Although most oral surgeons and dentists use laughing gas as their primary anesthetic, you have other options, such as topical or local anesthesia. At Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah, our board-certified surgeons will prioritize your needs. 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.