Nitrous oxide (N20) anesthesia is a combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen that is breathed through a nasal mask to give a sensation of relaxation and euphoria. Also known as "laughing gas", this gas is odorless. It takes about three minutes to achieve a comfortable state.
The patient is totally aware during this procedure and can direct the doctor should they feel any discomfort. Within a few minutes after the procedure, nitrous oxide is completely eliminated from the patient's system to eliminate any potential problems from the anesthetic.
Nitrous oxide anesthesia is a significant help by relieving anxiety and eliminating the gag reflex, greatly facilitating the operation. It can also be used for children and often eliminates the need for a local anesthetic (needle). This provides a better avenue for positive management of younger patients.