Nitrous Oxide

What is nitrous oxide?

Nitrous Oxide is a sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas that you can breathe. It can be very helpful in allowing fearful patients to comfortably get the dental care they want and deserve.

Nitrous Oxide has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. Nitrous oxide is safe, the patient receives 50-70% oxygen with no less than 30% nitrous oxide.

The patient is able to breathe on their own and remain in control of all bodily functions.

The patient may experience mild amnesia and may fall asleep, not remembering all of what happened during their appointment.

Is nitrous oxide safe for dental procedures?

Nitrous oxide works rapidly as it reaches the brain within 20 seconds. In as little as 2-3 minutes its relaxation and pain killing properties develop. The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation. There is no after effect such as a “hangover”. Inhalation sedation is safe with no side effects to your heart and lungs, etc. Although it is not required, it is very effective at minimizing gagging during procedures.

Who should not use nitrous oxide?

You should not utilize Nitrous Oxide if you have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or are pregnant. Though there are no other major contraindications to using nitrous oxide, you may not want to use it if you have emphysema, exotic chest problems, M.S., a cold, or other difficulties with breathing.

Either Dr. Elbrecht, Dr. Summerlin, or Dr. Emily would be happy to discuss with you if they feel nitrous oxide would be beneficial for you.

Common Questions

Can you drive after getting nitrous oxide at the dentist?

Because nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, dosing is easily controlled by your dentist, it is safe to drive after your procedure. It wears off just as quickly as it works.

What are the side effects of nitrous oxide?

The side effects of nitrous oxide depends on the amount you are given. For higher dosages, you may have symptoms such as nausea, headaches, drowsiness, or sweating.

Does laughing gas cause pain?

Nitrous oxide can eliminate the pain of minor dental procedures. That said, because you stay awake for the procedure you may feel a bit of pressure.

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