Most dental visits are pretty easy by the book. A dental hygienist will scrape plaque off of your teeth, followed by a polishing to remove any stain on the teeth. After that, a round of flossing, a peek under the tongue, and your dentist gives your teeth a thumbs up. You pocket a free toothbrush and floss, book your next appointment and mark another six months on your calendar.
But not every visit is so smooth. Some procedures require laughing gas to be administered. You've certainly heard of it, but what does laughing gas do, you wonder?
What Is Laughing Gas?
Nitrous oxide (N2O), more commonly referred to as laughing gas, is used as a local sedation method, according to the California Dental Association (CDA). It is colorless and odorless. Nitrous oxide is effective as a sedative because it relaxes patients with the pleasurable feelings it emits. Nitrous oxide's usefulness also stems from how quickly it works and that its effects are reversible. For those and other reasons, nitrous oxide is widely considered to be a safe sedation method.