Nitrous Oxide

What is Nitrous Oxide Sedation Dentistry?

The pain inhibiting effects of Nitrous Oxide were first discovered in 1772 and Nitrous Oxide sedation dentistry has been around for a very long time. It is know by other names, such as inhalation sedation, relative analgesia, RA, happy gas and most commonly, laughing gas.

Nitrous oxide sedation is used at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group for dental patients who have heightened anxiety about visiting the dentist. Nitrous oxide (N2O) is simply a gas which you can breathe in. It has no color, smell, and is not an irritant.

The effect of nitrous oxide is that it kills pain and it induces a pleasurable feeling. After 5 minutes or so of breathing in the gas, patients usually report feeling a euphoric feeling spread throughout the body. You will feel a bit light headed and often people get ‘the giggles’ which is where the term “laughing gas” originated.

How Does Nitrous Oxide Work?

When breathed in, nitrous oxide gas depresses almost all forms of sensation, including hearing, touch and pain, and it seems to inhibit the emotional centers in the brain. The ability to concentrate and memory function, however, is only minimally affected by nitrous oxide gas inhalation.

How is Nitrous Oxide Administered?

The equipment used for delivering “laughing gas” consists of a supply of compressed gases and nose hood apparatus which delivers the gases to you. All you have to do now is breathe normally through your nose!

What are the Advantages of Nitrous Oxide?

1. Nitrous oxide works very rapidly.

Since nitrous oxide is a gas, it reaches the brain within 20 seconds, and relaxation and pain-relieving properties usually take effect after only 2 or 3 minutes.

2. The depth of sedation can be adjusted as needed.

Due to the quick uptake and effect of nitrous oxide, your dentist can adjust your level of sedation quickly as well. Other sedation techniques, such as oral sedation take a longer period of time to take effect and therefore don’t allow for this.

Nitrous Oxide is a very flexible sedation dentistry treatment method. With nitrous oxide, it’s easy to give incremental doses until the desired action is obtained. Also, nitrous oxide can easily be switched off entirely when not needed and then switched on again if there is any further need.

3. There’s no after effect.

The gas is eliminated from the body within 3 to 5 minutes after the gas supply is stopped. You can safely drive home and don’t need an escort.

4. No injection is required.

Most people who harbor fears of the dentist also have fears about needles. Nitrous oxide is easy to administer and requires no needles. In cases of very severe needle phobia, getting laughing gas first can help you feel relaxed enough to allow the needle required for dental freezing.

5. Inhalation sedation is very safe.

It has very few side effects and the drugs used have no ill effects on the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain.

6. Effective at minimizing severe gagging.

Inhalation sedation has been found to be very effective in eliminating or at least minimizing severe gagging.

Why Do Many Dental Clinics Not Provide Nitrous Oxide?

Depending on where you live, a dentist who offers nitrous oxide may not be easy to find. The reason for this relates to the requirements of the dental team to offer nitrous oxide. There’s training required and nitrous oxide equipment takes up space in the clinic. The cost of the equipment and gases is also high. Many dental clinics simply feel that the costs of providing nitrous oxide outweigh the benefits and demand for it.

At Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group however, we strive to make you feel as comfortable as possible during your dental visits to our clinic and offering nitrous oxide is part of our effort to serve you and all of your family’s dental needs.

How do I know if Nitrous Oxide is suitable for me?

We encourage you to ask! If you’d like, we can provide you with the chance to give it a try during your treatment.

What are the After Effects of Nitrous Oxide?

The after effects of nitrous oxide are minimal.Following treatment the effects of this gas are completely reversed within 3 – 5 minutes, simply by breathing normally. In fact, you will be able to safely drive home or to go back to work following your appointment.

We’d like to hear from you if you have further questions or concerns about sedation dentistry! At Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group, we are pleased to always offer the opportunity for you to be fully informed and comfortable with your treatment. Read more about Sedation Dentistry.

We welcome you to contact Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group, to book an appointment today.