Use of Nitrous Oxide in the Dentist’s Office
Nitrous oxide(N2O), often called laughing gas, is widely used in dentistry for its anesthetic and analgesic effects.
It is a colorless and virtually odorless gas with a faint, sweet smell. Your dentist will offer it to help make you comfortable during certain procedures. Nitrous oxide is not intended to put you to sleep, but to help you relax by inducing a pleasant feeling.
Nitrous oxide in combination with oxygen is delivered by a nasal mask. The formula is usually 50-70% oxygen with no less than 30% nitrous oxide.
Benefits of Nitrous Oxide
- Eliminates or minimizes gag reflex interference with the dental procedure.
- Decreases the pain and anxiety associated with dental procedures. It helps to make the patient calm and comfortable.
- Works very rapidly reaching the brain within 20 seconds. Relaxation and pain-killing properties develop after 2 or 3 minutes.
- Generally safe for all ages.
- Gives the ability to independently and continuously maintain an airway and respond appropriately to physical stimulation and verbal commands. This is called “conscious sedation.”
- Affects the perception of time making the procedure seem to pass faster.
- The effects wear off quickly once the gas is turned off making it safe to return to normal activities such as driving, work or school.
- There are no lingering effects such as a “hangover.”
Millions of people are fearful of dental visits, procedures and the possibility of experiencing pain. Statistics show that these fears are actually common, affecting 1 in 7 Americans.
If you’re nervous about a dental procedure, discuss the option of inhalation sedation with your dentist. He/she will let you know if it’s right for you. You are not a good candidate if you have MS, are pregnant or have any difficulties with breathing such as with COPD or emphysema.
If you’re looking for a dentist in CT – in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Stratford, Easton, Trumbull or Westport – who uses inhalation sedation with nitrous oxide, contact Dr. Frank Romano at 203-372-0881.