Dental Tips Blog


When is Nitrous Oxide Not an Option?

“Laughing gas” has long been used in dentistry as a fast-acting, safe, and effective way to help patients relax during their treatment. Although its technical name is nitrous oxide, it’s known by some as laughing gas due to its ability to help people feel very light-hearted or even catch a case of the giggles when they’re inhaling the gas. 

Just about anyone can elect to use nitrous during their dental treatment. From regular cleanings to dental extractions, nitrous oxide provides full effects in just a few minutes and is completely reversed within about 5 minutes of being turned off. However, there are some circumstances where a patient may not be a candidate for nitrous oxide use. Some examples include patients with: 

  • Severe allergies or sinus infections
  • Sinus obstructions or difficulty breathing through their nose; People with COPD
  • A tendency to feel claustrophobic
  • Women in their first trimester of pregnancy
  • Certain severe medical conditions (sickle cell, heart failure, MS, otitis media, etc…) 

Because the gas must be inhaled through the nose, it is contraindicated for people who cannot breath through their nose. Medical contraindications are less frequent, but still something that dentists see on a routine basis. It is extremely important that you review your current medications and medical history with your dentist, even if you feel that it’s nothing that they need to know. Failing to disclose a medical condition could result in drug interactions or side effects with nitrous oxide or other commonly used drugs in dentistry. 

If you’re not sure whether or not nitrous oxide is contraindicated for your personal need, ask your dentist during your next check up.

Posted on behalf of Find Local Dentists

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