Does the thought of going to the Dentist leave you feeling nervous or tempted to avoid your appointment altogether?
Dental phobia and anxiety are common, whether you haven’t been to the Dentist in years, need your first filling or require extensive treatments. Fortunately, nitrous oxide sedation — also known as ‘laughing gas’ — can provide safe and gentle relief.
What is Laughing Gas?
Nitrous oxide is a gentle inhalation sedation (analgesic) that leaves you completely conscious but less sensitive to stimuli or stressors. It’s blended with pure oxygen and breathed in through a soft nosepiece.
While we still use local anaesthetic to numb teeth that are being treated, laughing gas makes it so that you care less about what’s going on around you. You’ll still be able to answer questions and carry on a conversation, but the overall experience will be easier.
It only takes a few minutes for laughing gas to take effect. We adjust the level to your age and body type. When your treatment is over, you’re placed back on 100% pure oxygen for about five minutes until all of the nitrous has left your system.
Choosing nitrous oxide sedation means you’ll be fine to drive yourself home afterwards! There are no lingering side effects.
How Does Nitrous Oxide Sedation Work?
The administration of nitrous oxide sedation is a straightforward process:
Evaluation: Before administering nitrous oxide, your dentist will assess your medical history and discuss any concerns or questions you may have.
Mask Placement: Once you’re comfortably seated in the dental chair, a small mask is placed over your nose. You will be instructed to breathe normally through your nose.
Controlled Inhalation: The dentist or trained staff member will control the flow of nitrous oxide and oxygen, ensuring that you receive the right mixture for your needs.
Relaxation: As you inhale the gas, you will begin to experience a sense of calm and relaxation. Some patients may even feel slightly euphoric or “giddy,” hence the nickname “laughing gas.”
Dental Procedure: While under nitrous oxide sedation, your dentist will perform the necessary dental procedures with ease. You will remain conscious and able to respond to instructions throughout the treatment.
Recovery: Once the procedure is complete, the nitrous oxide is turned off, and you will receive oxygen for a few minutes to ensure that any remaining gas is eliminated from your system. You will quickly return to a fully alert state and can usually resume your normal activities without any lingering effects.
Benefits of Nitrous Oxide Sedation:
Anxiety Reduction: Nitrous oxide is highly effective in reducing dental anxiety and nervousness, making it easier for patients to receive necessary dental care.
Quick Onset and Offset: Nitrous oxide takes effect rapidly and wears off quickly, allowing for a swift and safe recovery after the procedure.
Controlled Sedation: The level of sedation can be adjusted during the procedure to ensure your comfort and safety.
Minimal Side Effects: Nitrous oxide is generally well-tolerated, with minimal side effects. Patients can usually drive themselves home after their appointment.
Applicability: Nitrous oxide can be used for various dental procedures, from routine cleanings to more complex treatments.