One type of sedation dentistry involves the use of nitrous oxide – inhaled minimal sedation. Also known as “laughing gas,” it’s a safe and effective way to take the fear out of visiting the dentist.
Exactly what is nitrous oxide?
- It’s an effective, safe, colorless gas with a sweet odor that is prepared by heating ammonium nitrate. As a dental sedation, it produces exhilaration or anesthesia when mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over the nose.
- Nitrous oxide does not put you to sleep. During your dental procedure, you will be able to hear and respond to any requests or directions your dentist may have.
- You will breathe normally through your nose, and within a few minutes you should start to feel the calming, soothing effects of the nitrous oxide.
- You may feel a tingling in your legs and arms or they may feel heavy, and you may feel a bit light-headed, but you should also feel calm and comfortable.
- Nitrous oxide can make procedures that take hours seem like minutes, even though you are completely awake and conscious. When the effects wear off, you will not remember the sights, sounds and smells of your visit.
- Nitrous oxide wears off soon after your dental procedure is complete and the mask is removed.
- Typically, you will also need a local anesthetic – a numbing medication at the site where your dentist is working.
It is important to go over your medical history with us – including any medications you are taking. This will ensure that you are an appropriate candidate for this type of sedation.