Nitrous oxide, also commonly referred to as laughing gas, is a common practice in sedation dentistry. Like other methods used, nitrous oxide reduces dental anxiety in patients undergoing dental procedures. Still, you might be wondering exactly what nitrous oxide is and how it works.

As one of the most trusted sedation dentists in Indiana, our team is knowledgeable and well-qualified to explain the ins and outs of nitrous oxide. Here’s everything you should know about this popular form of treatment from Advanced Indiana!

What is Nitrous Oxide?

As a sedative made up of nitrogen and oxygen, nitrous oxide is typically inhaled through a mask situated over the nose during dental procedures. Nitrous oxide helps a patient relax and is very beneficial for those with dental work anxieties.

It is important to note that nitrous oxide doesn’t render you unconscious- you will be fully awake to respond to your dentist’s requests throughout the procedure. This form of sedation is especially beneficial for both the dentist and the patient.

Here are the three main ways that nitrous oxide can affect a patient:

  • Nitrous oxide numbs you so that you won’t feel any pain throughout the procedure
  • It reduces anxiety so you won’t be fearful during the procedure
  • Nitrous oxide creates a sense of euphoria that enables you to relax completely

How Does Nitrous Oxide Make You Feel?

A patient’s experience with nitrous oxide can vary depending on the amount given. In most cases, however, patients describe a light-headed feeling, often accompanied by a pleasant tingling in their arms and legs. Feelings of euphoria are also common, along with sleepiness and warmth. Overall, you will feel much more relaxed and at ease.

Are There Any Side Effects Associated With Nitrous Oxide?

You may be wondering whether or not there are any side effects surrounding the use of nitrous oxide that you should know about. We must note that, although rare, there are some side effects that you may experience when nitrous oxide is used in your dental procedure. These may include:

  • Mental confusion
  • Grogginess
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Shivering
  • Leg pains
  • Sweating

Again, these side effects are infrequent, and most patients will never experience them. A patient’s experience with nitrous oxide is usually smooth and straightforward. Those suffering from anxiety when undergoing a dental procedure should ask their dentist about nitrous oxide as it can positively shape the experience.

Are There Any Potential Long-Term Side Effects of Using Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide doesn’t cause long-term side effects. Any side effects experienced, such as those listed above, should wear off quickly. While nitrous oxide is completely safe, it isn’t recommended for everyone. Your medical history may cause your dentist to decide you are not a good candidate: Here are some reasons your dentist may not see you as a good fit for nitrous oxide:

  • You have a history of respiratory illness
  • You’re in the first trimester of pregnancy
  • You have a vitamin B-12 deficiency
  • You have a history of mental health conditions
  • You have a history of substance abuse

How Does Nitrous Oxide Affect the Brain?

When a patient inhales nitrous oxide, the air in the lungs is displaced, preventing oxygen from reaching the brain and blood. As a result, you may get the giggles (this is where the term “laughing gas” comes from). In rare cases, some people may find themselves experiencing very mild hallucinations. However, once the patient stops breathing in the gas once the mask is removed, the effects of nitrous oxide wear off very quickly. In fact, patients should be perfectly fine driving themselves back to home or work after a procedure in which nitrous oxide is used. The effects wear off, and you should be able to function and go about the rest of your day without any problems.

Sedation Dentistry That Helps You Relax at Advanced Indiana!

Now that you know what nitrous oxide is, how it works, and how it can benefit you as a dental patient, you’re likely interested in this popular dental sedative. If so, Advanced Indiana is the best in the business and offers a wide array of dental services. We can help you decide on the best type of sedative dentistry for you, helping you conquer your fears and receive the dental treatment you need and deserve. Request an appointment online today to get started!

Photo by lafayett zapata montero on Unsplash