Nitrous oxide is commonly used in dental offices as an effective and safe sedative. Commonly known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is mixed with oxygen and is inhaled through a small a mask. Nitrous oxide is often used to help patients relax during dental treatments, but does not replace an anesthetic and has no numbing effect. The gas helps patients feel comfortable and calm during treatments that may typically cause anxiety or fear.
Generally, nitrous oxide is a completely safe option for dental patients. The gas is particularly helpful in relaxing children or patients that deal with dental phobias or anxiety. Nitrous oxide may be harmful to patients who are pregnant and dentists should always be informed if a patient is expecting.
The gas is not intended to put you to sleep as you will be awake and functional during your treatment. It also allows you to see and hear during your procedure, so you can raise any questions you may have with your dentist.
When you come for your procedure and choose laughing gas, you’ll be placed in a chair with a small mask over your nose. You’ll be asked to breathe through your nose for several minutes and you’ll quickly notice your body relaxing. You may also notice a tingle in your extremities or light-headedness from the gas. The ultimate goal is for you to feel calm and comfortable during your treatment.
One major benefit of using nitrous oxide is the fact that the gas wears off quickly once the mask is removed. With the help of laughing gas, your anxiety is replaced with a calm, more pleasant experience.
Any time you receive laughing gas during a procedure, you should let your dentist know if you experience any unpleasant symptoms. You may need a lower level of gas or may even need to remove the mask for a few moments.
Although the mechanism of action with nitrous oxide is unclear, it’s commonly believed that the gas works by depressing sensation forms including touch, pain and hearing. You may notice that your ability to concentrate is minimally impaired when under the effects of laughing gas.
At Oakville Place Dental, we strive to create a relaxing, comfortable environment for our patients that struggle with dental phobias or fears. Before your procedure, consult us with any questions or concerns you have about the use of nitrous oxide. We are committed to providing you with options to make your treatment a pleasant experience.