Happy Gas is a medical gas called Nitrous Oxide. It is also known as Laughing Gas or Hippy Crack. It is commonly used in the food industry to create whipped cream in cans. Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas that is slightly sweet smelling and tasting. In some circles, it is used for recreational “highs” but it is primarily an anaesthetic which has been used in medicine for over 200 years with a very safe track record.
In the dental realm, Happy Gas is used to provide euphoria and pain relief whilst undergoing treatment. Patients feel “high and floaty”. Imagine undergoing your dental treatment whilst under the influence of a few glasses of champagne. Your appointments feel like 5 minutes, when in reality they are 60 minutes long.
Normal room air contains 21% Oxygen. Happy gas is mixed with Oxygen to ensure patient safety. At Siana Dental we give a minimum of 30% Oxygen, which confers a great degree of safety. We’ve found Happy Gas to be ideal for patients who are mildly anxious but it is also available for anyone who simply wants to have the best dental experience.
The treatment is very easy to administer, we use a small nasal inhaler. It’s also suitable for all ages, the only requirement is that you can breathe in/out through your nose. This requirement usually precludes children under the age of 6 but means that children over that age are great candidates for happy gas.
The gas works its magic within a few seconds. In many cases, the Happy Gas numbs the teeth and we can avoid using dental needles! This makes it especially useful for treating children.
We also routinely provide happy gas for our patients whilst they are having their teeth cleaned by our hygienist. One of the reasons our hygienists use Happy Gas is that it also significantly suppresses patient’s gag reflexes. So, if you are a patient who gags in the dental chair, then this little known effect could completely transform your dental visits into an easier experience.
You do not need to be fasted to receive Happy Gas, and because the effects wear off within minutes, you can resume your normal activities straight away. You can even drive yourself home from your appointment.
Not to be confused with the Happy Gas used on maternity wards in hospital, the Happy Gas in the dental setting is very different. The dental version is controlled by the dentist in terms of strength and duration, whereas the medical version is a fixed concentration and taken “on demand” by the patient. This means that the dental administered gas, has a smoother, deeper and more effective result.