Can Adults Get Laughing Gas at the Dentist? At Newtown Dentistry, They Can!

Dental anxiety is common. Whether previous experiences have left you nervous about seeing the dentist, or you simply don’t like having your mouth examined, you aren’t alone in your apprehension.

At Newtown Dentistry, we understand your needs, and work hard to make sure every patient who walks through our doors feels comfortable during their exams and treatments. To that end, you might be wondering, “Can adults get laughing gas at the dentist?” The short answer is yes, but we offer so much more to help you stay calm and even look forward to your visits. That includes offering a welcoming and relaxing environment with friendly staff that treats you like family.

What is Laughing Gas?

Laughing gas is dental nitrous oxide, a safe and effective sedative that’s been used by dentists for decades to help patients relax during procedures. It’s not intended to put you to sleep; rather, the gas helps you feel calm and comfortable while remaining fully awake. You will feel the effects of nitrous oxide quickly, but unlike other sedatives or general anesthesia, laughing gas doesn’t cause lingering side effects. Most adults can even drive themselves home afterward!

Nitrous oxide works by displacing some of the oxygen you breathe in.

Your dentist administers it by placing a small mask over your nose and asking you to breathe normally. As you take in the gas, it affects your central nervous system, lowering your inhibitions. Despite the name, not everyone gets the giggles when their dentist uses nitrous oxide, although some people do. It’s more likely that your limbs may tingle and then feel heavy, and you’ll feel calmer than usual.

Once your treatment is complete, your dentist will turn off the gas and ask you to breathe pure oxygen for a few minutes. The effects of the laughing gas wear off almost immediately, and breathing oxygen can reduce the risk of headaches or other side effects later on.

When Can Adults Get Laughing Gas at the Dentist?

A collection of dental tools in the exam room.Before any dental procedure at Newtown Dentistry, your dentist will discuss your dental history and any concerns you may have. Don’t hesitate to reveal your fears or anxiety; our dentists understand and will work with you to make sure you are comfortable.

With that in mind, when can adults get laughing gas? The answer is any time you and your dentist agree that the mild sedative effects will benefit you. This might be:

  • If you have a strong gag reflex that interferes with dental care
  • If you have special needs that require extra assistance
  • If you don’t respond well to local anesthesia like Novocaine
  • If you have anxiety or fear that makes it difficult for you to fully cooperate with the dentist
  • If you need a longer procedure that will affect your ability to relax

Don’t hesitate to ask your dentist about your options if you have any concerns about the exam or procedures.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t get laughing gas at the dentist?

Although most adults can get laughing gas at the dentist, some people should not. The dentist will go over your medical history to determine whether you have any conditions or sensitivities that make the treatment inappropriate or dangerous. These include:

  • Pregnancy, especially in the first trimester
  • A history of substance abuse
  • Certain respiratory illnesses, including COPD
  • A history of mental illness
  • A vitamin B-12 deficiency
  • Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency, an enzyme condition

If any of these apply to you, your dentist will discuss alternatives for you to relax.

What to Expect After a Dental Visit with Nitrous Oxide

As previously mentioned, if you choose laughing gas for your dental visit, you most likely won’t have any side effects, and may be able to drive yourself home. Your dentist will discuss aftercare with you, and let you know if you should plan to have someone else transport you home.

Some people have reported nausea and headaches after receiving nitrous oxide. Eating a light meal before your dental treatment, and not eating for 2-3 hours after should prevent nausea. Patients rarely experience other side effects from the gas, such as chills, excessive sweating, or sleepiness after the procedure. These are most likely to occur when you inhale too much gas too quickly, which is why it’s important to breathe normally while receiving it.

Laughing Gas at Newtown Dentistry

A welcoming area where patients can relax at Newtown Dentistry. The safety and benefits of using laughing gas to help reduce dental anxiety and pain are undisputed. It works quickly, and the effects wear off quickly after your dental procedure. That’s why we are pleased to offer it as an option for adults and children who need a little extra help during their dental visits.

There’s no need to avoid dental care because of past experiences or fear — at Newtown Dentistry we want to help you rewrite your dental history and make going to the dentist a pleasant experience.

To make an appointment and learn more about what makes Newtown Dentistry different from any other dental office you’ve visited, click here or call us anytime at (215) 774-5193.

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