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Do you have anxiety when you undergo dental procedures? Some individuals dread going to the dentist and can’t relax while they are there. If you have these feelings, you may want to talk to your dentist about using nitrous oxide when undergoing dental procedures. Your dentist will answer any questions you have, but learn more about the effects of nitrous oxide and the history of its use here in this post.

What Is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a sedative agent sometimes used during dental procedures. It is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a mask covering the patient’s nose. Nitrous oxide does not put you to sleep, but relaxes you instead. Those who use nitrous oxide often feel light-headed and their limbs may feel tingly, or heavy in some cases. Laughing gas not only helps one relax, but also helps to suppress pain (though a local anesthetic may still be used).

History Of Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide was discovered in 1793 by an English scientist named Joseph Priestley. In 1799, a man named Sir Humphrey Davy first coined the term, “laughing gas” when he administered nitrous oxide to those who visited the Pneumatic Institute. Nitrous oxide wasn’t used for dentistry until the early 1840’s when American dentist Horace Wells used it while having his teeth extracted. This was also the first demonstration of clinical anesthesia.