Many dentists in Australia use nitrous oxide. Also called happy gas or laughing gas, this gas has been popular for years, and, if you haven't used it during a dental procedure, you may be wondering if you should try it. Here's a look at the benefits of nitrous oxide:

1. Nitrous oxide reduces pain and anxiety.

When you have dental work done, the dentist applies a local anesthetic, typically Novocain, to the place where he or she is going to be doing the work. This helps to eliminate any pain in that area, but it does nothing to relax your mind, and as a result, you may still think you feel pain. Nitrous oxide is great because it does both. It reduces pain while also helping to relax you and reduce anxiety.

2. Nitrous oxide is fast acting.

To administer nitrous oxide, the dentist slips a mask over your face, and you inhale the gas. It starts to work almost immediately. As a result, you don't have to worry about having an overly long appointment.

3. Nitrous oxide wears off quickly.

Just as it starts to work quickly, nitrous oxide also wears off quickly. When the dentist is done doing the work, he or she will change the settings on the nitrous oxide machine so that it is giving you pure oxygen. Within a few moments, the nitrous oxide will be out of your system, and you will feel back to normal. This pain relief option doesn't prevent you from driving home, continuing to work for the rest of the day or anything else you need to do.

4. Nitrous sedation is less invasive with fewer side effects than other options.

Nitrous oxide is not the only sedation option when it comes to dentistry. You can also be sedated through intravenous injection. In this case, a needle is injected into you, and you are effectively "put under". This type of sedation needs to be administered by an anesthesiologist in most cases, and, afterward, you cannot drive or go to work. Similarly, oral sedation methods also seriously interrupt your ability to function for a while after the appointment.   

5. Nitrous oxide can help children have positive attitudes toward the dentist.

If you have a child, you should also consider using nitrous oxide when he or she has a dental procedure. This is particularly important if your child has a fear of the dentist. Without nitrous oxide, the work may feel scary to your child (even if he or she really cannot feel it thanks to the Novocain). However, nitrous oxide helps to soothe those fears and make dentistry easier and more enjoyable for your child.