Traditional Dental Sedation

A trip to the dentist oftentimes is one of the last things anyone looks forward to. Pressure, discomfort, and pain are all unwelcome feelings in and on your face, and volunteering to go through such an ordeal can seem like insanity. Fortunately, most patients choose to receive fantastic, professional dental care that includes dental sedation. Corson Dentistry offers three different types of dental sedation, the most common one being simple dental sedation with nitrous oxide (also known as “laughing gas”). Traditional dental sedation prevents patients from experiencing most of the negative, painful experiences associated with a trip to the dentist’s office, offering a relaxing experience that can even be enjoyable.

Traditional Dental Sedation

Nitrous oxide, or NO2, is a colorless, odorless gas which the patient inhales at the start of a dental procedure. After about five minutes, the patient begins to experience feelings of euphoria, and pain is replaced with pleasure. Many people feel the effects causing them to laugh, which is why its common name is laughing gas. Patients who have been given laughing gas typically don’t feel dental work being done, but they stay conscious throughout the procedure. This is practical for allowing the dentist to direct the patient verbally during the process.

How It Works

For those worrying about inhaling a foreign gas, rest assured that the dosage of nitrous oxide is administered with a healthy amount of oxygen accompanying it. Breathing pure NO2 for longer periods of time can be harmful (simply due to the lack of oxygen reaching the brain), so to combat this, dentists use a mixture of 70% nitrous oxide, 30% oxygen. This keeps the process safe—with almost twice the amount of oxygen as normal air—and also still effective. The combination of oxygen and NO2 may vary slightly depending on the procedure, but there will always be plenty of oxygen to sustain the treatment.

The Process

Receiving nitrous oxide during your trip to the dentist is quick, easy, and painless. Tanks with compressed NO2 and oxygen deliver the gas by means of a mask the patient wears. Although the gas is odorless, dentists add scents like vanilla, cherry, mint, and the like to make the experience more pleasurable. After inhaling the gas through the nose for several minutes, the patient may begin to feel a tingling sensation in his or her extremities. A warm feeling, along with euphoria, may also be felt. The patient will continue to receive a steady flow of laughing gas for a ways into the procedure to ensure any feelings of pain or discomfort do not return.


Two of the biggest advantages of nitrous oxide are that it works quickly and wears off quickly. Patients will typically feel its effects in a couple of minutes, and feel them wear off in a few minutes as well. In addition, most people feel completely normal after receiving a nitrous oxide treatment, meaning they don’t have any negative effects like grogginess or weariness. Patients can even drive home a few minutes later without any problems. Since many times it can replace topical anesthesia, nitrous oxide is also a great sedative for those who have a fear of needles, and it usually diminishes any gag reflexes, which is particularly useful for dental work. Overall, nitrous oxide is extremely safe and effective, providing a pain-free stress-free visit to the dentist.