Nitrous Oxide Sedation
If you've ever been to the dentist (and hopefully you have), you're probably familiar with nitrous oxide. Often called laughing gas or sweet air, nitrous oxid is a safe and effective sedative agent that is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over your nose to help you relax. Nitrous Oxide is one option we may offer to help make you more comfortable during certain dental procedures, relieving anxiety in children and adults while they remain conscious. After a few minutes, the effects of the nitrous oxide start to take place. If you are using Nitrous Oxide Sedation, you will be conscious , and you will experience a light, airy feeling sensation. Once your dental tratement is finished, you will breath 100% oxygen for few minutes. You will be able to resume normal activities and drive home following dental treatments.
Nitrous oxide is mainly used in conjunction with a local dental anesthesia, which is still necessary to numb your mouth and teeth prior any extensive dental procedure. Unfortunately, patients can't benefit from laughing gas for post-treatment discomfort. You will recover from the effects of nitrous oxide long before the numbness from local dental anesthesia wears off.
Like any drug, there are pros and cons to using Nitrous Oxide during dental procedures.
- Great for fearful patients and children
- Patient remains conscious and can communicate with the dentist
- There are limited or no side effects of nitrous oxide
- Wears off quickly with little or no recovery time
- Considered safe and non-addictive when used correctly
- Patient does not need an escort
- Not a subsitute for local dental anesthesia during major dental surgery
- Overmedicating or using nitrous oxide on a full stomach may cause nausea or vomiting
- May not work on extremely phobic patients
- Not recommended for patients who have difficulty breathing in through the nose
- Contra-indicated during pregnancy
No Laughing Matter
When administered correctly, nitrous oxide sedation is a safe, effective way to eliminate dental anxiety. And no, you can't get it on your own. Dentists and dental hygienists must complete the appropriate coursework to administer nitrous oxide, and many states require a permit to obtain it.
If you're avoiding the dentist out of fear, nitrous oxide can help you get the professional dental care you need.