Yes! For more than a decade, Dr. Harris, a laughing gas dentist in Greer, SC, has helped thousands of people relax in the dentist’s chair by using a simple and safe technique: laughing gas. Also known as nitrous oxide, the gas acts as a sedative, giving you a deep sense of relaxation and pain relief.
With laughing gas, some people report a tingling sensation and some people feel a peaceful floating sensation. But what nearly everyone feels are their fears and anxieties melting away. Some of our patients who had avoided the dentist for years have told us that our approach has helped make going to the dentist something they actually look forward to, believe it or not.
Here’s what you can expect when laughing gas is used during your dental appointment:
How Does Laughing Gas Work?
A mix of oxygen and nitrous oxide is delivered through a small mask that fits over your nose. When you breathe in, the gas travels through your bloodstream to the brain. Once there, it produces calming and pain-relieving effects. These are thought to come from an increase in the release of endorphins and dopamine (the calm, positive feeling) while the gas’s molecules interact with certain receptors to block the sensation of pain (the anesthetic effect).
Nitrous oxide has been used since the 1800s and is currently used around the world to ease pain and discomfort in emergency room situations and in childbirth. (It’s also possible you have some in your fridge right now, as nitrous oxide is often used as a propellant for whipped cream canisters!)
How Will I Feel During and After Laughing Gas Use?
One excellent benefit of laughing gas is how quickly it works. Patients report feelings of calm and relaxation about thirty seconds after slipping on the mask. Nitrous oxide is a “twilight sedation” meaning you are still aware of what’s going on and you can still answer questions when we ask. While the gas may relax you to the point that you fall asleep, it doesn’t “put you under.” A gentle nudge from us will wake you back up, so there’s no need to be concerned about being completely sedated.
After we have completed your treatment, we’ll take the mask off and the effects of the gas will dissipate very quickly. Some people don’t remember the time when they were under the effects of the gas, but most people do. And most people feel no after-effects, though in some cases people can experience headaches and, more rarely, nausea.
What Else Will Help with My Dental Anxiety?
Your entire experience at Greenville Family Dentistry is coordinated to relieve any anxiety you have about coming to see us. Starting in the waiting room, we strive to keep you waiting for as little as possible. That’s because we understand that, if you’re already anxious about seeing the dentist, sitting and waiting doesn’t help. For that reason, we do our best to see you as quickly as possible after you arrive.
Once we call you in, we listen. And we communicate. For many of our patients, part of their anxiety stems from the fact that they feel like they’re not in control and don’t know what’s happening. Our team will always let you know exactly what we’re doing – and what to expect before we do it. We always want to hear about your concerns so we can adjust our approach to make you more comfortable.
Is Laughing Gas Just for Those With Severe Dental Anxiety?
Actually, no! Nitrous oxide is so safe and so effective that it can be used for those who would benefit from a more relaxing and comfortable experience in the dentist’s chair. It’s even used to help children better enjoy their visits.
The best way to know if a laughing gas dentist like Dr. Harris is right for you is to come talk to us about it. We want to get to know you and your needs, helping to relieve your dental anxiety while keeping you and your smile healthy, and we’re happy to offer a free consultation for our sedation dentistry services. Contact us today for more information.