Nitrous oxide, commonly referred to as laughing gas, is a safe and effective sedative agent that is combined with oxygen and inhaled through mask that fits over your nose. Your dentist may offer this to help make you more comfortable during certain procedures.
This technique works well in a patient that understands the need to complete dental work and merely has anxiety associated with dental procedures. It is not intended to put you to sleep or cause loss of consciousness as you are able to hear and respond to any requests or directions the dentist may give to you.
A type of anesthetic, local anesthesia blocks pain transmitting nerves in a specific area and creating a numbing sensation. During a treatment your dentist may apply a topical anesthetic to numb an area in preparation for administering an injectable local anesthetic which has a stronger effect.
Injections are typically used in such procedures as filling cavities, preparing teeth for crowns or treating gum disease.