Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a non-allergenic, non-irritating gas that affects the central nervous system. It is one of the safest and most effective forms of sedation available and has few side effects.
Nitrous oxide takes effect within 3-5 minutes, and the effects of the gas are completely reversed in 3-5 minutes as the flow of nitrous oxide is gradually replaced with 100% oxygen. Nitrous oxide sedation is usually used in our practice for nervous or anxious patients. It helps eliminate fear or nervousness and reduces anxiety by allowing the patient to relax during the treatment process.
The gag reflex and flow of saliva are also somewhat decreased. One of our dentists administers nitrous oxide by placing a mask over the nose, allowing the patient to breathe in the gas.
As the nitrous oxide begins to work, it induces a state of comfort and relaxation. The depth and extent of sedation can be varied according to the requirements. The patients usually remain awake and responsive throughout treatment while feeling completely comfortable and relaxed.
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COMPOSITION OF NITROUS OXIDE GAS
Nitrous oxide gas is a combination of oxygen and nitrogen. It is non-flammable and colourless at room temperature and effectively makes uncomfortable and painful procedures easier.
HOW DOES NITROUS OXIDE GAS WORK?
Nitrous oxide is an odourless and colourless gas widely used in dentistry as a sedative agent and is also called a laughing gas. It is inhaled with oxygen through a mask which prevents oxygen from reaching the blood and the brain and displaces air in your lungs.
Due to oxygen deprivation, people usually experience mild hallucinations and unconsciousness. One of the top advantages of this laughing gas is that its effects wear off quickly once you stop breathing it.
Moreover, it interacts with the neurotransmitters of the brain, such as dopamine and makes patients feel euphoric and relaxed minimising the pain sensations. This gas also slows down your nervous system, making you feel light-headed and less inhibited.
However, in some cases, if it overdoses, it can lead to severe consequences, including abnormal blood pressure and various heart conditions.
WHY IS NITROUS OXIDE USED IN DENTAL PROCEDURES?
In various complex oral or maxillofacial surgeries, like tooth extraction, root canal, or bone graft, dentists generally prefer to administer nitrous oxide gas as a mild sedative to reduce or minimise the pain sensations during the treatment processes.
Nitrous oxide gas is the safest option for sedating patients, and its effects are not long-lasting as they fade away quickly after the patients stop inhaling the gas. Commonly, its effects last for 2 to 3 minutes after the mask is removed, and the patients can easily return to their normal life after completing dental procedures.
BENEFITS OF USING NITROUS OXIDE GAS
Nitrous oxide or laughing gas is widely used in the surgical process and effectively minimises pain sensations and discomfort during the treatment process. At Balsam Dental, we prioritise our client’s concerns and aim to provide them with painless, effective dental treatments at affordable costs.
Our highly trained and expert dentists commonly use nitrous oxide gas during complex oral treatment procedures that effectively minimise the risk of pain sensations and discomfort, allowing the treatment to be completed smoothly.
Nitrous oxide or laughing gas has multiple benefits, including:
1. LESS RECOVERY TIME
Nitrous oxide is a widely preferred gas in surgical treatments because it has comparatively lesser recovery time than other sedatives. The effects of nitrous oxide gas generally fade away within 2 to 3 minutes after the patients stop inhaling the gas. Moreover, nitrous oxide gas is one of the few sedative agents that allows patients to drive safely back to their houses after the treatment.
2. EASILY ADMINISTERED
The nitrous oxide gas is easily administered and does not require the use of needles, shots or VI; you can simply breathe or inhale the nitrous oxide or laughing gas through a facemask. This gas is quickly absorbed by the lungs and exerts its sedative effects rapidly.
Moreover, this gas is self-administered, and patients inhale it by holding a mask themselves, making this process more comfortable. After inhaling this gas, patients become light-headed and feel general numbness, but they can still communicate with their dentist.
3. HELPS PATIENTS WITH EXTREME ANXIETY ISSUES
Nitrous oxide gas effectively helps people with severe anxiety issues during dental treatments. This gas has a mood-altering effect, enabling patients to feel more relaxed and comfortable during treatment.
It is an excellent pain reliever with little or no side effects if administered accurately. Moreover, sometimes, after inhaling this gas, patients feel giddiness and tickling effects and start laughing, which diverts their attention from the painful surgical procedure, making the treatment process easy and relaxing.
Nitrous oxide gas is safe for patients from all age groups and is a widely accepted form of sedation. It is especially a great solution for children or patients with severe anxiety issues and wears off quickly. Moreover, if administered with care and attention, it does not exert any side effects.