Nitrous oxide is a type of inhalation sedation that uses a gas to help patients relax and to minimize the discomfort of dental treatments. Commonly known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is delivered through a special mask that fits over the nose with dosing carefully monitored throughout treatment. Laughing gas is especially popular among pediatric patients who have fear or anxiety about seeing the dentist and having fillings and other care performed, but it’s also popular among adult patients who suffer from dental anxiety.
Nitrous oxide can be used for many procedures, including fillings, crowns, and even routine cleanings. The use of nitrous oxide is determined on an individual basis, taking the type of treatment and the patient’s anxiety level into account.
Yes, laughing gas has a very long history of safe use in treating both pediatric and adult patients. Nitrous oxide requires no IV or oral medications. Plus, the effects of nitrous oxide dissipate very quickly once the gas is cut off and oxygen is administered, so there are no drowsy side effects. Laughing gas also can be administered in very precise amounts, enabling Dr. Koo to adjust the dosing based on your specific needs for optimal benefits and maximum safety.
Nitrous oxide does not induce sleep, but it does cause patients to feel drowsy and very relaxed. When the gas is first administered, many patients experience a sweet taste or scent sensation, sometimes accompanied by mild numbness or tingling in the nose. Sensations of relaxation and drowsiness quickly spread through the body to help patients feel deeply relaxed but still completely conscious. Some patients describe the experience as feeling like they’re floating, warm or tingly.
Yes, nitrous oxide is frequently used with local anesthetics, and in fact, the gas can significantly decrease any anxiety patients may have about the needle used to numb their teeth and gums.
One of the advantages of nitrous oxide is that the effects typically wear off very soon after treatment, which means you should be able to drive yourself home after your appointment.
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