Nitrous Oxide – Laughing Gas
Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas as it is sometimes referred to, is used extensively as a sedation agent in dentistry. It is colorless and odorless gas, and has been in use for a long time due to its anesthetic and analgesic properties. Anesthetics help on to lose awareness temporarily, while analgesics numb out pain. This gas also brings about laughing tendencies when administered to patients, a reason it is referred to as laughing gas. The gas reduces pain while leaving the patient awake during the procedure.
Nitrous oxide is well used by dentists all over, and has a myriad of advantages as to why it is so popular;
- Laughing gas does not require the use of a needle to administer, a point many needle-loathing patients may want to hear.
- The administration of nitrous oxide can be controlled accordingly, so whereas other drugs wear off in time, the gas can be turned on if need for additional sedation is observed.
- With nitrous oxide, there is no danger of over dosing as might occur with an injection sedation drug.
- There are no side effects with laughing gas. The gas properties wear off within 3 to 5 minutes after it is turned off.
- Nitrous oxide is greatly beneficial to patients who may suffer from gag reflex.
- The gas works very quickly; its effects can be felt within seconds of administration.
- The gas can be administered in incremental doses until the desired sedation state is reached, something that is not possible with injection-based sedatives.
- Some patients may be bound to have sudden anxiety attacks. If this happens, the dentist can administer the gas to calm them down and distract them.
- The gas is strong enough to sedate patients, while at the same time leaving them conscious and responsive to the dentist’s orders.
Nitrous oxide delivered to patients through a mask that covers the nose, and directs the gas from a nearby storage. The modern masks allow the dentist to be accurate with dosages, helping to keep the patient aware while numbed from the pain sensations. An added benefit is that the patient does not require to be driven to the dentist. Once the gas wears off the patient is back to their normal selves and can make use of their motor coordination skills.
While on a visit to the dentist, discuss the nitrous oxide as a means of sedation for the dental procedures.