Nitrous oxide, which is more commonly known as laughing gas, is a colorless, non-flammable gas that has a range of different uses. In the world of dentistry, nitrous oxide is an extremely valuable sedation tool that is used to help certain types of patients tolerate dental treatments.
There are various levels of sedation used in sedation dentistry. These range from placing a patient on the very edge of consciousness with no awareness of what is happening around them to very mild sedation that calms the patient, but they retain full comprehension of their surroundings. Nitrous oxide falls into the latter category and is the mildest form of sedation currently used in dentistry.
Nitrous oxide is administered via a mask that is placed over the patient’s nose for the duration of the procedure. Despite its name, it doesn’t actually make you laugh. Instead, it induces a fairly euphoric state that is sufficient to make the patient feel calm and relaxed. The effects of nitrous oxide last only as long as the patient is inhaling it. As soon as inhalation ceases, it takes less than a minute for the patient to return to feeling normal.
Patients are monitored the entire time that they are under sedation so that the nitrous oxide can be removed immediately if required. This makes it extremely safe.
As we know, nitrous oxide is the lightest form of sedation currently available. It is primarily recommended for patients who:
Have only a mild fear or concerns about undergoing a dental procedure
Are having a very simple, non-invasive or minimally-invasive dental procedure such as a check-up, a professional clean or a filling
Have mild physical or cognitive disabilities that make it difficult for them to sit still or follow instructions during a dental appointment
Our team will be able to advise you if you are a suitable candidate for nitrous oxide sedation, and if nitrous oxide is the best choice of sedative for you based on your circumstances.
If you would like more information about nitrous oxide and it’s used in sedation dentistry, or if you would like to find out about other types of sedation that are available, please contact our offices where our team will be happy to help you.