Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)
Nitrous Oxide is a sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which you can breathe.
Nitrous Oxide has been the the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. Nitrous oxide is safe, the patient receives 50-70% oxygen with no less than 30% nitrous oxide.
The patient is able to breathe on their own and remain in control of all bodily functions.
The patient may experience mild amnesia and may fall asleep, not remembering all of what happened during their appointment.
There are many advantages to using Nitrous Oxide
- The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation.
- There is no after effect such as a “hangover”.
- Inhalation sedation is safe with no side effects on your heart and lungs, etc.
- Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging.
- It works rapidly as it reaches the brain within 20 seconds. In as little as 2-3 minutes its relaxation and pain killing properties develop.
Reasons to not use Nitrous Oxide
You should not utilize Nitrous Oxide if you have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Pregnant women should also avoid exposure to nitrous oxide. Though there are no other major contraindications to using nitrous oxide, you may not want to use it if you have emphysema, exotic chest problems, M.S., a cold or other difficulties with breathing.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Nitrous Oxide may be combined with certain anti-anxiety medications to safely reduce the level of anxiety you might experience during certain dental procedures. This method of treatment usually involves a greater amnesic effect, meaning that you may forget much or occasionally all of the visit. This is not for every patient and every procedure, instead reserved for the highly fearful patient or those who wish to complete a lot of dental treatment in a single visit. The patient must have a sedation consultation prior to any treatment, which may involve communication with the patient’s physician to discuss any systemic health conditions related to the proposed dental treatment. The patient will also require a trusted adult companion to drive them to and from the appointment.