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How is nitrous oxide used in dental procedures?

Nitrous oxide (often called laughing gas) is used as a sedative in dental procedures. To administer nitrous oxide, the dentist will place a mask over your nose before the procedure. As you breathe through the mask, the nitrous oxide enters your system and may create feelings of lightness and even euphoria. When nitrous oxide is used along with a local anesthetic such as novacaine, it allows you tolerate more pain, so the dentist can perform the dental procedure while you relax and daydream.
Nitrous oxide is one option your dentist may offer to help make you comfortable during certain procedures. Inhaled through a small mask that fits over your nose, nitrous oxide is mixed with oxygen to help you relax. Your dentist will ask you to breathe normally through your nose, and within a few short minutes you should start to feel the effects of the nitrous oxide. You may feel light headed or a tingling in your arms and legs. Some people say their arms and legs feel heavy. Ultimately, you should feel calm and comfortable. Nitrous oxide is not intended to put you to sleep. You will be able to hear and respond to any requests or directions the dentist may have. This is called "conscious sedation." The effects of nitrous oxide wear off soon after the treatment has ended and the mask is removed.
Nitrous oxide is administered through a mask placed over the nose and mouth.The gas is inhaled into the lungs where it is absorbed and goes to the central nervous system where it dulls the senses and causes relaxation. A local anesthetic will then be applied to the area where the dentist will be working.

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