Nitrous Oxide: What Is It and How Is It Used in Dentistry?

Nitrous Oxide: What Is It and How Is It Used in Dentistry?

Aug 01, 2021

Dental anxiety is nothing new. Do you get jitters when you think of coming to our dentist’s office near you? You are not alone! There are countless more who have dental anxiety. Others might put off coming to the dentist because of dental phobia and anxiety and visit only when there is an issue.

However, our dentist offers nitrous oxide in Dixon to the patients who desire to receive dental care but have dental anxiety or phobia.

Nitrous oxide has been used for decades in dentistry and has helped countless patients stay calm and relaxed during dental procedures.

What Is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is a common, safe and effective sedative agent. The gas is administered using a gas mask that is small enough to fit over your nose.

You will be asked to breathe normally, and then you will feel the effects of the gas within a few minutes. Nitrous oxide will not put you to sleep since it’s a form of conscious sedation. Once the effects kick in, you will feel light-headed and a bit tingly in the arms and legs. Others have reported that their legs and arms feel heavy.

However, there will be a general calming effect that will make you feel relaxed during the procedure. The effects will wear off a few moments after the mask has been removed.

You will be conscious enough to hear, comprehend and respond to our dentist’s directions during the procedure.

How Does Nitrous Oxide Work?

Laughing gas will not necessarily make you laugh. However, when it is inhaled, there will be a high level of nitrous oxide in the lungs and thus will diffuse into the blood. This process will take place very fast, and that’s why you will feel the effects within minutes.

However, it is not delivered without supplemental oxygen to ensure that your body, including the brain, receives enough oxygenated blood. You will breathe out most of the gas, a very small amount will remain in the bloodstream.

Also, it doesn’t necessarily eliminate or block pain but aids in increasing the body’s tolerance to pain.

People giggle because there is a reduced amount of oxygen in the body, creating a sense of euphoria, making laughing way easier.

Therefore, after inhaling laughing gas, your anxiety vanishes, and you will start feeling good.

Are You Eligible to Use Laughing Gas?

Laughing gas can be used under the following conditions:

  • If you are anxious, fearful, or uncooperative
  • If you are a younger patient and need to undergo lengthy dental procedures
  • Patients with special needs
  • If you don’t respond well to local anesthesia
  • If you have a sensitive gag reflex that can interfere with the dental procedures

Since laughing gas is safe, some people cannot use the sedative such as:

  • If you have a disability that will prevent you from breathing through a gas mask
  • If you have a psychiatric condition like schizophrenia
  • If you are suffering from a lung condition such as emphysema
  • If you are sensitive to nitrous oxide

Is Nitrous Oxide Kid and Pregnancy Safe?

Absolutely! Nitrous oxide is a perfectly safe treatment that can help your child relax during treatment. By far, it is the preferred sedation method used by children of all ages. They will be comfortable even when they are around strangers or if they are nervous.

Also, pregnant mothers can still receive dental care if they have dental anxiety since laughing gas is pregnancy-safe.

Are There Any Side Effects?

In most cases, patients don’t get adverse side effects. When they occur, it could be because the amount you are inhaling changes abruptly or the levels are too high. In any case, you can experience some mild side effects such as:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Shivering
  • Headaches
  • Sleepiness
  • Nausea or vomiting

However, after your treatment, the gas is turned off, and you will receive oxygen for five minutes or more. This will remove the remaining nitrous oxide in your bloodstream and lungs, helping you become more awake and alert.
You can prevent vomiting or nausea by eating a light meal before your dental procedure and avoiding a big meal for at least three hours after the procedure.

Laughing gas or nitrous oxide is a helpful tool against dental anxiety. Contact our dentist’s office near you, Exceptional Dentistry, if you need nitrous oxide in Dixon.

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