Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is the most frequently used and safest method in dentistry for easing mild to moderate anxiety. Administered through a small scented mask that fits over the nose, it is an effective way to calm anxiety, decrease oral sensitivity, and even make time seem like it's passing quicker than usual. As the gas begins to work, children become calm, but will still be awake and able to talk with the dentist. Used for more than 100 years, it is still the most effective method for decreasing oral sensation, decreasing the gag reflex, calming fears, and condensing perception of time during dental treatment.
At the end of the appointment, children resume breathing regular oxygen, and all the effects of nitrous oxide will disappear, so they can resume their normal activities immediately.