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Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Nitrous Oxide Sedation – Relaxation Dentistry – Tribeca and New York, NY*

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Up until the mid-1800s, dentists worked with no anesthesia or sedation at all. Then someone realized that nitrous oxide (N2O), which was used for recreational purposes, could also be used to dull pain from dental procedures. Now it’s considered a safe and effective agent of sedation that’s blended with the oxygen in your nasal mask (nasal hood). General and cosmetic dentist Dr. Frederick Solomon welcomes patients with dental anxiety and can offer nitrous oxide (NO) sedation as we strive to eliminate any discomfort or fear, and make every visit at Tribeca Smiles in New York, NY a pleasant one.

As you gently breathe in the NO sedation, it will quickly start relaxing you. It is colloquially referred to as "laughing gas" by some and simply helps you become more comfortable during whatever procedure you are slated to undergo. It is not designed to make you completely unconscious, like general anesthesia, but just to relax you and "take the edge off." The NO sedation is administered through the nose so your mouth can be worked on unimpeded.

Best Candidates

Nitrous oxide is normally used along with a local anesthesia such as lidocaine, which is still necessary to numb your mouth during dental procedures. It does not work for post-treatment discomfort, as it wears off very quickly and will be long out of your system before the local anesthesia starts to wear off. NO sedation is ideal for adults or children who are afraid of dental procedures in general and want to be able to handle them better, so if you’re delaying see a dentist like Dr. Solomon, nitrous oxide will empower you to get the professional dental care you need. However, if you a person who overmedicates or has difficulty breathing through your nose, or if you’re extremely phobic, have COPD, or even have a full stomach, alternative means of anesthesia can be considered.

What To Expect

Nitrous has what doctors call rapid uptake, good effect, and rapid recovery. After it quickly wears off and an appropriate recovery time, you’ll probably even be able to drive yourself home. Dr. Solomon may start you on 100% oxygen and slowly increase the nitrous. Depending on how you’re doing and the volume of your breathing, he will slowly up your intake and ask you to raise a hand when you start feeling the effects. Most of the time, you’ll start to feel relaxed within 30 seconds or less. The concentration of nitrous may also be relatively increased or decreased depending on the type of procedure being performed and your current level of anxiety. You may notice tingling in your arms and legs, and a feeling of vibration, warmth, euphoria, or positive well-being.


Recovery from NO sedation is usually immediate and you shouldn’t need much help to snap back to reality. Since it leaves your body within 3 – 5 minutes, normal activities can be resumed right away. Nitrous is an excellent way to reduce your anxiety and raise your pain threshold. If you feel any unpleasantness, let Dr. Solomon or someone on our team know immediately. If you’ve had bad experiences with nitrous in the past, it’s probably because the concentration was too high in the O2/N20 mix. Typically, you should only receive 30 – 40% nitrous. Regardless, there’s no hangover effect or bad effects on your heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain. Nitrous can also be used effectively on children with scented nosepieces, who also generally bounce back from it in no time.

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If you would like to see if your treatment or dental procedure can be accomplished with nitrous oxide sedation, call for a consultation today. Our highly trained staff will be happy to answer your questions and address your concerns about the use of NO sedation at Tribeca Smiles. If you are putting off needed dental work because of your dental fear or anxiety, please reach out to us. We can help.