We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Do I Need Laughing Gas for Dental Procedures?

By Lori Smith
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In general, laughing gas is an optional analgesic available in most dental offices. Numerous common procedures can be performed without it. In fact, some dentists choose not to equip their offices with the popular anesthetic at all. Many patients do prefer to use it, though, because of its calming — yet euphoric — effect and its pain-relieving qualities. It can be administered alone or in conjunction with Novocaine®, a localized numbing agent given to the patient in the form of an injection near the procedure site.

Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, is commonly used in dentistry, as well as some other non-dental medical procedures. When patients request it, a small rubbery mask is placed over the patient’s nose, which is connected to a machine that releases a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. When the person breathes through his or her nose, the sweet-smelling gas quickly produces a calming effect and pain relief. Some people even fall asleep during procedures when laughing gas is used, but most remain awake — albeit tranquil.

Following a few breaths of laughing gas, the patient experiences the pain-relieving and feel-good effects of it almost instantaneously. When this option is requested, the dentist will usually administer it to the patient prior to numbing the area of the mouth to be worked on. If the person begins to feel nauseous or too sedated, a quick adjustment to the dials on the nitrous oxide machine can usually relieve any unpleasant symptoms. The dentist is able to administer more or less of the gas to achieve desired pain relief.

When dentists prepare their patients for treatments that may cause pain, such as filling cavities or performing root canals, they will usually inject the patient’s mouth with a numbing agent such as Novocaine® or Lidocaine®. Some people are allergic to the local anesthetic or may have had negative reactions in the past. In these cases, laughing gas may be the best option. It is also especially helpful for easing anxiety of individuals who are afraid of dentists.

Sometimes, there is an additional charge for the use of laughing gas. It may not be included in the procedure fee, however, so it is important to inquire about that when making your decision as to whether or not you would like to have it. In contrast, injections to numb the mouth are often included in the cost of most dental procedures that would normally cause pain.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Phaedrus — On Feb 18, 2014

I have never had laughing gas before a dental procedure, but there are times when the thought of needles scares me. I'm not sure I like the idea of being somewhat aware during the procedure, but if it saves me from the anxiety of a needle and full sedation, I'd be willing to try it.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.