Nitrous Oxide: Understanding more about Laughing Gas

With most dental visits, the procedure or treatment is completed with basic tools and nothing more. However, more invasive treatments or fear of dental procedures will require the use of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas. You have most likely heard of the gas but are unsure as to what it does or what it is used for. By learning more about nitrous oxide, you can feel more comfortable with your next dental visit.

What is Nitrous Oxide?

N2O or Nitrous Oxide is popularly known as laughing gas and is used in dentistry as a method of sedation. The gas is both odorless and colorless. It works by relaxing the patient, so they begin to feel good, helping to alleviate any fears or nervousness. The gas is useful as well as easily reversible, so patients can complete a treatment and go back to work if needed.
The gas is commonly used during treatments such as when cavities are being filled. It is sometimes used during cleanings for patients who have a deep fear of treatments or anxiety.

Side Effects

The majority of patient who use nitrous oxide do not experience any negative side effects. Most patients feel relaxed and often times giggly. However, there are side effects that can take place if the gas is inhaled quickly or if the setting is too high. This can include shivering, headaches, nausea, fatigue or heavy sweating.
Once the gas has been turned off, oxygen is used to stabilize the body to avoid a headache. The oxygen removes the remaining nitrous oxide form the lungs so that the patient becomes awake and alert. When using the laughing gas, it is recommended that the patient eat lightly before the appointment and no heavy meals for a few hours afterwards.

Can Nitrous Oxide Be Used for Children?

Nitrous oxide is safe for children and often the preferred method of sedation for kids who are anxious or scared of a treatment procedure. Parents of children who are scheduled for an appointment can discuss with the dentist appropriate methods of sedation and see if nitrous oxide is a solution.
Kids must be willing to wear the mask apparatus in order to receive the gas. Many dental offices will have cute hookups for kids, so they do not become scared or overwhelmed when having to wear a mask to break in the gas.
Talk to your child before the appointment explain how the mask is used to provide medicine that will make them feel happy or calm during the procedure. You know your child best so explain the process in a way that they will understand and be ready when the time comes for their appointment.
Nitrous oxide is a quality method of sedation for a number of dental procedures. When you are told by the dentist that a procedure is needed, speak to them about nitrous oxide and if it will be used during your treatment. By learning more, you can feel more comfortable about an upcoming appointment.
Contact our office today to learn more about how nitrous oxide can be used to clam the nerves during an upcoming procedure.