Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas” is an inhaled gas that quickly calms and relaxes the moderately anxious patient. While not as potent a sedative as some other agents, Nitrous oxide has the distinct advantage of being eliminated from the system in only a few minutes, allowing the patient to drive immediately following the procedure.
For the patient who is very anxious, an oral sedative is the sedation technique of choice. A sedative is administered orally to the patient prior to the appointment which produces a more profound level of sedation as compared to Nitrous oxide. As well, the oral sedative very often has the added benefit of producing an amnesic effect and so the patient does not recall the procedure once the medication has worn off. Because of the prolonged duration of the medication however, the patient must be accompanied and must avoid operating a motor vehicle for a period of 24 hours following administration of the sedative.