Patients – Inhalation sedation

This is more commonly known as ‘happy gas’. Nitrous oxide and oxygen are the drugs used and it is quick, safe and effective. Both children and adults can use it. The patient breathes through a rubber mask that fits comfortably over their nose while the dental work is being carried out. During this time the patient is still aware of their surroundings and treatment but will feel more relaxed and calm.

The different levels of inhalation sedation depend on the concentration and length of administration of laughing gas. Hence, different levels of sedation can be experienced:

1. A tingling sensation, especially in the arms and legs.
2. Followed by warm sensations
3. Then you'll have a feeling of well-being, euphoria and/or floating.

What are the advantages?

It takes effect quickly, generally after five minutes and there is a fast recovery time 5-10 minutes. It has no ‘hang-over’ effect. No injection is required for sedation and it can also minimise severe gagging.

What are the disadvantages?

Inhalational sedation may not allow the same level of relaxation to be obtained for the patient as the IV method.

When is it unsuitable?

Inhalation sedation is not suitable in the following situations; claustrophobia, emphysema, severe chest conditions, in first trimester of pregnancy, MS and patients who have problems with breathing through their nose.


All patients receiving conscious sedation for dental treatment require an individual assessment prior to the sedation appointment by a dentist with postgraduate training and any questions can be answered at this appointment.