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What is nitrous oxide?

At room temperature, nitrous oxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas used for general anesthesia. It also is known as laughing gas. It is used in low doses for analgesia in obstetrics and during procedures, especially dental, that do not require unconsciousness. Higher doses can produce analgesia, pain relief. It is given through inhalation methods, which means it is inhaled into the lungs. It wears off quickly, shortly after it is discontinued.

You may know nitrous oxide as "laughing gas," the sedative your dentist uses to help you relax before a procedure. Your dentist places a mask over your nose so you can breathe in the nitrous oxide. It can relax, calm, and lull you into comfort. When your dental procedure is done, you take a few breaths of oxygen and the nitrous oxide is removed from your body.

Continue Learning about Nitrous Oxide

What should I avoid while using nitrous oxide?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
You should avoid smoking or lighting matches near any area where nitrous oxide is being used. Wh...
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Should I drive after receiving nitrous oxide?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
After you receive nitrous oxide and the mask has been removed, you should feel fine. It may take...
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How is nitrous oxide used in dental procedures?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
Nitrous oxide is administered through a mask placed over the nose and mouth.The gas is inhaled i...
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Does nitrous oxide interact with other medications or foods?
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The side effects of nitrous oxide can be intensified if administered to someone already taking m...
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.