Nitrous Oxide/Laughing Gas
Nitrous oxide or "Laughing Gas" is the oldest anesthetic in medicine and dentistry. It is a somewhat sweet smelling gas that is mixed with oxygen and is breathed in through a small mask that sits on top of the nose. It is anxiolytic (decreases anxiety) and analgesic (decreases discomfort) and is used in combination with the local anesthetic such as lidocaine. It usually has a very subtle effect with a quick onset and wears off very quickly. Nitrous oxide is known to be an incomplete anesthetic. In other words, it is not capable to put a person into general anesthesia by itself, under normal circumstances. These properties make it very safe and convenient to use for dental and oral surgical procedures.