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Nitrous oxide (N2O) – also known as laughing gas – was first discovered in 1793 by Joseph Priestly. The term “laughing gas” dates to that same time, when medical students would hold “laughing gas” parties to get high on their own supply. Today, nitrous oxide is one of the most widely used anesthetics in both dental and medical applications. As a general anesthetic, it is weak and is generally not used as a single agent. In dentistry, it is commonly used with oxygen for partial sedation, most commonly in young children.
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