What is Nitrous Oxide?
Nitrous Oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is a safe and effective conscious sedation technique for both adults and children to help patients feel relaxed, relieve dental anxiety and help make certain dental procedures easy and stress-free for patients.
Safety & Effectiveness of Nitrous Oxide
The safety and effectiveness of Nitrous oxide in combination with Oxygen has been extensively researched and studied. Nitrous oxide is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry and is well tolerated by most patients. It has a rapid onset, is reversible, can be adjusted in various concentrations and is non-allergenic. The patient remains fully conscious and maintains all natural reflexes when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen. The patient will be capable of responding to questions or requests during the procedure.
Preparing for an Appointment Using Nitrous Oxide
Patients are advised to have little or no food for two hours preceding the dental visit because occasionally a full stomach can cause nausea or vomiting.
Patients are advised to inform Dr. Schuck or Dr. Flack if they are experiencing any respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult. It is also important to tell them about any medications you or your child may be taking, or if there have been any chances to your medical history since your last visit.
Effects of Nitrous Oxide
Patients are encouraged to relax, lie back and Dr. Schuck or Dr. Flack will place a small mask over their nose. First the patient will be given three minutes of pure Oxygen to clear the lung receptors of natural nitrous. Then Nitrous Oxide will be introduced and the effects are almost immediate. You will smell a faint, sweet aroma and experience a sense of well-being and relaxation.
Since it may produce a feeling of giddiness or euphoria, it is often called a laughing gas. Patients sometimes report feeling “dreamy” and their arms and legs may feel “tingly” or "heavy".
Nitrous Oxide also raises the pain threshold and may even make the time appear to pass quickly. If you or your child are worried by the sights, sounds or sensations of dental treatment, you may respond more positively with the use of nitrous oxide/oxygen.
The effects of Nitrous Oxide wear off very quickly, typically within minutes after the flow of gas has stopped. Adult patients who choose Nitrous Oxide during their dental treatment are able to drive themselves home or even go back to work after a brief observation period at the office. Patients are also observed for a brief period of time, and are able to get back to their normal routine right away.