An Overview of The Side Effects of Laughing Gas Sedation

An Overview of The Side Effects of Laughing Gas Sedation

Jan 01, 2021

Nitrous oxide is a colorless, gaseous sedative agent combined with oxygen and breathed in through a small mask placed over your nose. Its primary purpose is to ease your tension. When inhaled, it slackens your body’s response time. As a result, a tranquil mood is achieved.

It may also trigger a feeling of delight, which makes the fits of giggles come with ease. For this reason, Nitrous oxide is commonly known as” laughing gas.”

What to Expect

Nitrous oxide use is not meant to make you sleep. It’s used as a mild sedative to manage pain in various dentist operations such as tooth extraction. It will not hinder you from hearing and responding to the dentist’s questions. Laughing gas is not administered through an injection. The doctor will ask you to breathe in the gas normally through a mask.

Lightheadedness will set in after a few minutes after you absorb the sedative in your lungs. You might experience tingling in your arms and legs. The effects wear off quickly after the mask is taken off. After the procedure, the dentist might administer oxygen for five minutes to help you recover awareness from the sluggish effects. It is advisable to wait for 15 minutes to establish that you’re fully alert.

Does Laughing Gas Have Advantages?

Nitrous Oxide presents some benefits over other anesthetics. Most dentists use it for the following reasons:

  • The intensity can be increased and decreased comfortably
  • It takes effect rapidly
  • No syringes and needles are required
  • Major organs such as the brain, heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys are not damaged
  • It is agreeable with children and patients dealing with anxiety
  • There are no ‘hangover’ symptoms that compromise your cognitive functioning so that you can drive yourself home.

Does it Have Side effects?

Like any drug, Nitrous Oxide could present some after-effects. Most patients don’t experience any complications or severe effects. However, the following symptoms may signify short term side effects:

  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Shivering
  • Sweating
  • Hallucinations and sound distortions
  • Severe headache
  • Intense paranoia

Side effects are most likely to occur because of inhaling a large volume of the gas or doing it too fast. There is a need to prepare your body for an intake of Nitrous Oxide. For instance, eat small portions of food before receiving the gas and up to three hours after the procedure. This minimizes the possibility of vomiting.

Nitrous oxide can be an allergen for some individuals. It requires prompt medical care. Look out for allergic reactions indicated by:

  • A skin rash
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Shivering
  • Wheezing

Side effects in children include:

  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Irritability
  • Confusion

Laughing gas does not present long-term effects with any reaction clearing quickly. In case of any abnormal and chronic symptoms, consult your primary physician. Although it is considered a safe sedative, it is not administered to everyone. Your doctor will analyze your medical history to determine if you’re eligible. Individuals with the following conditions are not suitable to receive nitrous oxide:

  • Pregnancy in the first trimester
  • A history of mental health illness
  • Respiratory illness
  • Vitamin B-12 deficiency
  • Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency- a genetic condition limiting the processing of amino acids
  • A record of substance abuse disorders

Is There Risk of an Overdose?

An overdose effect is possible on the intake of a higher amount than the optimum by far much more. It can happen due to misuse, toxic exposure, or an accident. Here are signs to look out for :

  • Itchy nose, eyes, and throat
  • Seizures
  • Pale bluish fingers, toes, and lips
  • Hallucinations
  • Coughing
  • Breathing problems
  • Feeling of suffocation with a tightness in the chest
  • Fast heart rate and high blood pressure

Overdose effects can result in a stroke or heart attack and, if untreated, a coma or death.


Laughing gas is a generally safe sedative to use for dental procedures like root canals. The effects are short-lived and side effects are rare. You should be careful not to abuse it; an overdose could be lethal.

If you’re looking for a high-quality dentist in Smithfield, UT, consider our team at Webber Comprehensive Dentistry. We are well-trained to provide safe and effective treatment for our patients.

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