Technically speaking, Laughing Gas is Nitrous Oxide or N20. Here is a nice little diagram of its chemical make-up.
We use laughing gas to take the "edge" off. When someone is nervous about a situation than any little stimulus will seem bigger than it actually is. This is true for the dentist office as well. Routine procedures can become overwhelming to dental phobic patients. We therefore administer gas to remove that overly tense feel and make the routine seem routine again. The effect of the gas creates a slightly euphoric state in people. Feelings of floating or tingling all over are very common. But most of all, it just makes you more relaxed. It is a very safe product to use and unless you have some sort of respiratory problem or are pregnant almost anyone can safely use it.
To tell you what exactly it does would sound something like this ...
It seems N2O-induced release of endogenous opioids causes disinhibition of brain stem noradrenergic neurons, which release norepinephrine into the spinal cord and inhibit pain signaling.But since most people have no idea what that means, just trust me when I tell you that it works, its safe, and you feel much better for having it. :-D
Dr. Jim Ellis, DDS
1220 33rd Street Suite C
Ogden, UT 84403