Laughing Gas

We understand that you may be afraid to visit the dentist but know that you’re not alone. Your dental appointment doesn’t have to be scary or uncomfortable – with Confident Smile Dental, you can enjoy a relaxing, pain-free experience, utilising simple sedation methods such as laughing gas, that can help to ease your nerves.

Laughing gas or happy gas as it is also known, are effective and fast-working sedation options, with zero downtime and minimal side effects.


Laughing Gas is an inhalation style, sedation method, that is offered at many dental practices. Once inhaled, laughing gas calms down patients who feel nervous, frightened, or tense during dental procedures. This sedation can produce emotions of joy, euphoria, and relaxation, so patients can feel more comfortable during their appointment.

This quick-working gas can be used to help alleviate stress in people that have dental anxiety, with zero downtime and minimal side effects. It is also appropriate for people who have a low pain threshold or can’t sit still in the dentist’s chair.

Dentists often prefer the use of ‘Happy Gas’ over other sedation methods, as it is fast-acting, and has reversible side effects. It is one of the safest sedation methods in dentistry.

Types of Sedation

What is Sedation? Sedation is a treatment method that aides the reduction of irritability during medical and dental procedures, through the use of sedatives (drugs). At National Dental Care, we want our patients to be relaxed and remain comfortable during their appointment – especially during complex dental treatments. During the sedation process, our practitioners will use medications to place you in a calm and peaceful state, while you undergo your procedure(s).

  • General Anaesthesia: A collection of medications to help put patients in a deep sleep-like state.
  • Oral Sedation: A tablet or liquid to help calm a patient’s nerves.
  • Intravenous Sedation: A small injection of sedative into a patient’s arm to help a patient relax.
  • Inhalation Sedation: The inhalation of a gas that helps decrease pain and reduce anxiety.

You’ll still receive a local anaesthetic, or numbing medication, to relieve pain at the site where the doctor is working in your mouth. It will prevent pain and discomfort. If you’re nervous about getting your dental treatment done, talk to one of our dentists about available sedation options.

The Effects of Laughing Gas

Laughing gas uses minimal sedation and will leave you feeling a general sense of euphoria. Unlike general anaesthesia – where you are put into an unconscious state, you will remain fully conscious and will be able to respond to your dentist’s request or directions. You can also swallow, talk, or spit as needed during a procedure.

You may experience some of the following feelings:

  • Light-headedness
  • Calmness
  • Soothing
  • Relieves anxiety
  • Minimal to no pain
  • Floating feeling (euphoria)
  • Suppresses individual senses including hearing, touch, and pain
  • Giggling or laughing
  • Tingling in the hands and body

Intravenous and oral sedation usually leaves patients drowsy after their procedure. Happy gas doesn’t have long-lasting effects and usually wears off within minutes after our dentist removes the mask.

If you need any further information on laughing gas, please contact our friendly team at Confident Smile @ 08 8725 6899.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some children are afraid of dentists and may not cooperate during their procedure. Laughing Gas is one of the safest forms of sedation for children undergoing dental procedures. It is the preferred method for young people that are nervous about an upcoming dental procedure. Always ask your child’s dentist to see if sedation method is appropriate for them.
After you settle into your chair, a friendly dental technician will place a mask over your nose. We’ll start with pure oxygen gas, then slowly introduce a Nitrous Oxide blend. We’ll watch you closely to see if the gas has taken effect. The dentist may adjust the strength of Laughing Gas depending on your tolerance. After finishing the procedure, we’ll administer 100 percent oxygen. You’ll relax and breathe this rich, pure gas in for a few minutes to help return your awareness to its original state.
Laughing Gas has several benefits for patients. First, this gas works quickly within two to three minutes after a dentist places a mask over your nose. A second benefit is that you won’t need to have a person escort you to and from your appointment. Once a dentist sees that you have fully recovered from your Happy Gas sedation, you can drive home. Laughing Gas also allows dental professionals to make more efficient use of their time. They can complete complex treatments in a fewer number of appointments or one dental appointment. After a few visits, you may no longer need happy gas for your dental appointments.

Although laughing gas is safe, some patients can experience side effects. They may also have issues when Nitrous levels are too high or the amount of the gas they inhale changes quickly. Here are other potential side effects:

– Excessive sweating
– Fatigue
– Headaches
– Nausea and/or vomiting
– Shivering

After sedation, a dentist will administer oxygen to make the patient more alert. This gas purges the Laughing Gas from their lungs and prevents headaches.

Patients shouldn’t eat heavy foods before receiving Happy Gas. Only eat light meals three hours before and after sedation to avoid nausea and vomiting. Your dentist can tell you when it’s safe for you to drive home after your procedure.

Although Happy Gas is an effective sedative that’s easy for dentists to administer, they may not be the right choice for some patients. You should tell your dentist if you have the following health conditions:

– First Trimester of Pregnancy
– Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
– Cobalamin Deficiency
– Drug Addictions
– A history of emotional issues

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