Team photograph of Dr Axelrad & staff

Nitrous Oxide…Aka Laughing Gas – Part Two

Posted on by Dr. Axelrad


In this blog we will look at the side effects of Nitrous Oxide (N2O) usage.

Side effects usually occur when the level of nitrous is too high compared with that of the oxygen.

Some of the more common side effects include: headaches, nausea, dizziness (vertigo), vomiting and auditory and/or physical hallucinations.

Laughing, becoming giddy, crying or experiencing uncoordinated movements are a sign that the nitrous level is too high.

Nausea can be prevented by avoiding eating or drinking 3-4 hours before the procedure.

As mentioned previously, if the oxygen level is greater than or equal with that of the nitrous, these side effects can be avoided.

If while on N2O, you have any of the above symptoms or are just not feeling well, tell your dentist. At this point, the nitrous component of the machine will be turned off and you will breathe 100% oxygen for about 5-10 minutes. Breathing 100 % oxygen will flush any nitrous out of your system and you will return to feeling exactly the way you did before the procedure.

Your motor skills and overall attention may not be as ‘sharp’ while on the N2O and this effect may continue for up to 15 minutes after you stop breathing the N2O gas. We therefore advise you to wait a few minutes before getting behind the wheel of a car.

Note: You should not be left alone in the treatment room while on N2O.

How will you feel while receiving the N2O?
You will generally feel ‘lighter’ and willing to accept the treatment that you are about to receive.

You may notice tingling in your fingers and toes.

If you feel a burning sensation in your chest, it means that the nitrous portion of the mixture is too high and needs to be lowered.

In the next blog we will look at the contra-indications for using N2O…until then.

Dr. Robert Axelrad, Brampton Dentist

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