Nitrous Oxide or Laughing Gas: What It Is & How It Works

Dr George Olstein explains the immense benefits of Nitrous Oxide, often known as ‘laughing gas.’ Dental practices utilise it for patients who may be a little nervous or anxious about undergoing treatment.

For some people, the thought of visiting the dentist can be enough to make them never want to make an appointment. And with visits recommended every 6-12 months, these phobias can often result in poor oral health for patients.

In these circumstances, it’s important for your dentist to provide a safe, comforting and relaxing environment. And for those with existing fears, that comfort comes from the offered service of ‘laughing gas.’

What Is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous Oxide is an extremely light form of sedation used for dental patients. It was discovered in 1772 and used as a sedative from 1884. Since then, it’s predictability and effectiveness has made it the number one choice for mild sedation by medical professionals around the world.

How Is Nitrous Oxide Administered?

The dentist administers a mixture of gas and oxygen via a breathing mask. The calming effect is noticeable after a few minutes. You will feel completely relaxed, as all your nerves and concerns slip away.

You are completely awake the whole time and still retain control of your body.

How Is It Utilised At The Dentist?

Laughing gas at the dentist is used for patients that are a little scared and intimidated at the thought of receiving treatment. It is a way to ensure they are entirely carefree and relaxed throughout the entire process.

Prior to the procedure, you will be fitted with a mask, which will allow you to breathe the gas in and out through your nose. Your dentist will then be able to control the levels of nitrous oxide you are receiving throughout your entire procedure, allowing you to retain 100% control. And the best part – it will last the entire procedure.

Once the work is complete, you are breathing in pure oxygen and then the mask is removed, you will quickly feel back to normal. Patients are usually able to drive themselves home shortly after the appointment.

Who Is Eligible For Nitrous Oxide?

Anyone can utilise the positive effects of nitrous oxide – all you have to do is ask for it! It’s a perfect alternative form of sedation for those anxious about visiting the dentist. The result is lowered levels of stress, and heightened enjoyment.

Not only is laughing gas suitable for adults, but also children are also able to experience the benefits. It is a completely safe method of sedation that is proven and tested throughout hospitals all over the world.


Dr George Olstein provides general dentistry services, offering pain free sleep dentistry and cosmetic dentistry procedures. Dr George Olstein’s practice is conveniently located in Prahran, Melbourne, just a short 15 minute drive the Melbourne CBD.

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

We welcome any questions you have, so please contact us today or book your appointment online or phone us on 03 9510 1644.