Of all the dental sedation options available for our patients, nitrous oxide is perhaps the most well-known. Or at least, people have heard about it, though they may harbor more than a few misconceptions about it. It has many names, such as the technical name N2O and the more popular moniker “laughing gas”.
For our patients, though, it’s another bit of proof that there’s really nothing to fear about going to the dentist.
Use and Effects of N2O
As you can read from its name, laughing gas is a gas. If you’re our patient, you inhale the gas through a mask that’s placed over your mouth and nose. It smells light and sweet, and it’s colorless too.
Its effects are actually pretty mild. You may feel a bit sleepy, but it won’t really make you fall asleep. You’ll still be able to hear our dentist talk to you. You’ll feel a lot happier and significantly less anxious about the dental procedure you’re undergoing. You may feel so happy that you may find a lot of things around you amusing.
This is often what we recommend for patients who have some form of phobia about going to a dental office and undergoing dental procedures. It’s not uncommon for some people (even adults) who may feel anxious when they hear the seemingly ominous sounds made by certain instruments. Others may also be afraid of local anesthetic shots, especially when they imagine a big needle entering their gums. With the N2) such fears generally fade away.
Our use of N2O is entirely safe. We’ve gone through extensive training, and we have a long experience with administering this gas for our patients. We have the necessary expertise to be able to precisely control the flow of the gas so you receive just the right amount. We base our estimates on various factors such as your age, size, and gender, and we also closely monitor your reactions to the current dosage.
Its safety extends to its use with children. It may seem to some adults like it’s the ultimate alcoholic experience, but it’s not really a substance reserved for adult use. Even our very young children can use it without worry. In fact, it’s a favorite tool to assuage the fears of children regarding the visits to dental offices. Once they’ve experienced the utter joy of inhaling N2O under our careful supervision, they can form an attitude that’s less anxious regarding dental office visits.
If you’re an adult, you don’t even need to have someone with you to take you home after using N2O. The gas leaves your system in just a few minutes. Afterwards, you’re once again entirely normal and you can drive yourself back home.
Tell is if you’re feeling some level of anxiety when you’re due for a dental procedure at our office. Don’t be embarrassed, as anxiety among patients (especially our newer ones) is entirely normal and quite common. We can then use N2O during the procedure, and in most cases this will be more than enough to keep you from feeling any pain and anxiety at all.