Nitrous Oxide Sedation
Unfortunately many people don’t see a dentist due to anxiety and fear of the dental experience.
Nitrous oxide is the safest form of sedation available. It is also known as “laughing gas” and can be used for all ages. Its advantages are listed below:
Nitrous oxide works very rapidly – it reaches the brain within 20 seconds, and relaxation and pain-killing properties develop after 2 or 3 minutes.
The depth of sedation can be altered from moment to moment, allowing the person who administers the gas to increase or decrease the depth of sedation. Other sedation techniques don’t allow for this.
Other sedation techniques have a fixed duration of action (because the effects of pills or intravenous drugs last for a specific time span), whereas gas can be given for the exact time span it’s needed for.
There’s no “hangover” effect – the gas is eliminated from the body within 3 to 5 minutes after the gas supply is stopped. You can safely drive home and don’t need an escort.
With nitrous oxide, it’s easy to give incremental doses until the desired action is obtained (this is called “titration”). So the administrator has virtually absolute control over the action of the drug, preventing the possibility of accidental overdoses.
For certain procedures – those involving gums rather than teeth (e. g. deep cleaning) – it may be possible to use nitrous instead of local anaesthesia. N2O acts as a painkiller on soft tissues such as gums. However, its pain-relieving effects vary a lot from person to person and can’t be relied upon.
Inhalation sedation is very safe. It has very few side effects and the drugs used have no ill effects on the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain.
Inhalation sedation has been found to be very effective in eliminating or at least minimizing severe gagging.