Is It Safe For Me To Drive Home After Getting Laughing Gas At My Dental Appointment?

» Posted by on Jun 11, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Is It Safe For Me To Drive Home After Getting Laughing Gas At My Dental Appointment?

Dear Dr. Merchant,

I am scheduled for an appointment with my dentist for a filling and am considering using laughing gas as a mild sedative. I get a little anxious in the dental chair and just want something to take the edge off. My problem is that I don’t have a driver to drive me home after my appointment, and I am worried that I may be unfit after receiving nitrous oxide. Should I be concerned or will I be safe to drive?


Responsible Driver

Dear Responsible,

Believe it or not, this is a very common question! Many patients want to have the edge taken off but don’t want to go all in with heavy sedation. The more you know about how “laughing gas” works, the more comfortable you will feel about whether or not to use it to help ease your anxiety. I suggest talking with your provider ahead of time about your concerns so that he/she can explain how nitrous oxide is administered in the office. Reading up on the history and effects of “happy gas” will help you understand its’ properties and benefits. Lastly, remember that your dentist wants you to have a safe and comfortable experience both in the chair and when you leave the office. Laughing gas is a great choice to use as a mild sedative because it’s effects wear off within minutes after the gas stops being administered.

Make A Quick Phone Call To Your Provider

Call your provider to get reassurance that this is right decision for you. Your dentist will want you to feel assured about all aspects of your procedure, including activities immediately after your visit. Dental assistants are another great resource for information if you want a second opinion. They are very familiar with administering nitrous oxide and how long the effects last.

Do Some Recon Before Your Appointment

Remember the saying, “Knowledge is Power!” In this case it’s especially true. Reading up on the properties of laughing gas will help you understand how it works and why it is a preferred alternative to sedation during many dental procedures. Dental Fear Central has a great article on inhalation sedation.

Your Safety Is Important To Your Dentist

Your safety in the chair and immediately after your visit should be paramount to your provider. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off within minutes, thus making it a safe and responsible method for the temporary relief of mild anxiety.  Trust me, a good dentist would never send a patient out on the road without making sure that he/she was stable for driving.

Your oral health is a partnership between you and your dentist. As a patient, you have every right to ask questions and receive explanations that help guide you in your oral health decisions. I hope I have given you some reassurance for your upcoming visit.

Happy Oral Health!

Dr. Merchant

Dr. Christopher D. Merchant D.D.S.

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