The Benefits of Nitrous Oxide for Dental Anxiety

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Have you been humming and hawing about booking your next dental visit because you have been anxious about your upcoming cleaning or dental treatment? You are not alone. It is relatively common to have dental anxiety. Studies suggest a significant proportion of people experience some type of dental anxiety, with 11% – 14% of adults report experiencing high or severe levels of anxiety. The team at Devon Dental Associates understands and strives to make our dental clinic in Devon a comfortable and relaxed environment for receiving dental care.

What is Dental Anxiety?

Dental anxiety is the fear, anxiety or uneasiness that individuals experience leading up to and during dental visits, treatments and procedures. Our dental office in Devon, Alberta, goes above and beyond to provide patients with personalized dental care specific to their individual needsas well as create an environment where patients receive treatment with little-to-no anxiety during their visit and in the future.

Nitrous oxide helps those with dental anxiety feel comfortable and relaxed during treatment, regardless of the severity of the anxiety. Let us inform you of the benefits of using nitrous oxide for dental anxiety during your visit and while receiving treatment.

What is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous Oxide is a gaseous sedative commonly known as laughing gas. It combines nitrogen and oxygen particles (N₂O, similar to water being H₂O with hydrogen and oxygen). The effects nitrous oxide can have on a person are:

  • Feelings of relaxation, calmness or euphoria
  • Feeling silly & chuckling
  • Warm and fuzzy feelings
  • Tingling sensations mostly in arms & legs
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sleepiness

Benefits of Nitrous Oxide for Dental Anxiety

The main benefit of nitrous oxide is the ability to alleviate a patient’s dental anxiety and allows for treatments and procedures to occur smoothly. Patients who receive dental care with nitrous oxide are more comfortable and tend to feel at ease while in the dental chair.

Benefits of nitrous oxide include:

  • Fast Acting – Because it is gas, it takes no time for nitrous oxide to enter the bloodstream. The sedative and pain-soothing feelings reach the brain and the body almost instantly.
  • Heightened Comfortability – Feelings of relaxation, calmness and euphoria allow patients to feel a heightened sense of comfortability.
  • Painkiller – Nitrous oxide relieves pain and obscures the brain from continuing to feel pain for as long as the gas is effective.
  • Easy-going administration – The gas is simply administered through a breathing mask, contrary to other sedatives or painkillers, which require the use of needles.
  • Immediate recovery time – The effects of the gas wear off once a patient stops breathing the gas. Patients can usually drive home after receiving nitrous oxide.
  • Safety – It is easy to monitor and quickly adjust nitrous oxide administration making risks very low.

What to Expect When Receiving Nitrous Oxide

The sedation process begins with nitrous oxide being mixed with oxygen. The combined gasses are inhaled through a mask placed over the patient’s nose. Once it is breathed in takes only seconds for the patient to feel the effects and have their anxiety alleviated.

Who Can Benefit from Nitrous Oxide for Dental Anxiety?

  • Patients with mild to severe dental anxiety: It helps create a relaxed and calm state making the experience more comfortable.
  • Children and adolescents: Children and teenagers can suffer from dental anxiety. Ask your child how they feel and talk to a dentist near you to see what options are available.
  • Individuals with a strong gag reflex: Some people have hypersensitive gag reflexes, making dental procedures challenging and uncomfortable.
  • Patients with difficulty sitting still: Restless patients can find that nitrous oxide can help promote relaxation during dental treatments.
  • People with a history of traumatic dental experiences: One source of dental anxiety is from previous experiences. Nitrous oxide helps patients feel completely at ease in an environment that they do not feel comfortable in. It can also help alleviate anxiety for future dental visits.

Nitrous Oxide and Other Sedation Options

Other sedative options include oral sedation and intravenous (IV) sedation. Dentists usually save these types of sedation for more invasive treatments and procedures. Here is how they all compare.

Nitrous Oxide Oral Sedation IV Sedation
Administration Inhaled through mask Swallowing a pill Injection with needle
Effectiveness Mild sedative effect:
relaxation, anxiety-reduction
Strong sedative effect:
Highly relaxed / calm
Strongest sedative effect:
Highest relaxation / calm
Recovery Wears off minutes after Wears off hours after Wears off hours after

While oral sedation and especially IV sedation produce stronger sedative effects, those levels of sedation are not necessary for most dental treatments. The convenience and ease of nitrous oxide is preferable. Oral and IV sedations not available at Devon Dental Associates.

Are You Looking for Nitrous Oxide Near You?

Are you in the Devon area looking for a dental checkup but suffering from dental anxiety? Book your next dental appointment with us and ask about nitrous oxide use during your visit. Devon Dental Associates is the best place for nitrous oxide in Devon!

Reach out to us via phone or email today!

Phone – (587) 410-6768

Email – [email protected]


1. Who can benefit from nitrous oxide for dental anxiety?

  • Patients with mild to moderate dental anxiety
  • Children and adolescents
  • Individuals with a strong gag reflex
  • Patients with difficulty sitting still
  • People with a history of traumatic dental experiences

2. What is dental anxiety, and how common is it?

Dental anxiety is the fear, anxiety or uneasiness that individuals experience leading up to and during dental visits, treatments and procedures. It is relatively common, with studies suggesting a significant proportion of people experience SOME level of dental anxiety, and 11% – 14% of adults report high or severe levels.