Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
Nitrous oxide has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. Nitrous oxide is safe; the patient receives 50-70 percent oxygen with no less than 30 percent nitrous oxide. It is a sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas that is inhaled. The patient is able to breathe on his or her 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.
Advantages of Nitrous Oxide
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 or lungs
- Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging
- It works rapidly reaching the brain within 20 seconds. In as few as two to three minutes, its relaxation and pain-killing properties develop.
Reasons Not To Use Nitrous Oxide
Though there are no major contraindications to using nitrous oxide, you may not want to use it if you have emphysema, chest problems, multiple sclerosis, a cold, or other difficulties with breathing.
You may want to ask your dentist for a five-minute trial to see how you feel with this type of sedation method before proceeding.