Nitrous Oxide Sedation: Procedure and Benefits

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Nitrous oxide sedation also known as inhalation sedation or laughing gas, is a mild sedative that helps patients with low to moderate dental fear calm down during dental procedures. Laughing gas is a non-irritating gas that is safe for children and adults alike. When the nitrous oxide is administered, patients will feel more relaxed and possibly even giddy.

Inhalation Sedation Procedure

At first, 100% oxygen is administered through the nose. Eventually,the dentist gradually releases the nitrous oxide in combination with the oxygen. Nitrous oxide sedation works very quickly compared to other sedation methods. It reaches the brain in 20 seconds, and the full effects should be felt within a few minutes.

You remain conscious during the procedure, and are able to cooperate with your dentist. Depending on the level of nitrous oxide administered, you may respond slowly and slur your words while trying to communicate. You are awake and responsive during the procedure.

Benefits of Nitrous Oxide Sedation

One of the plus sides of inhalation sedation is that dentists are able to alter the patient's level of sedation throughout the procedure. The level of sedation from oral sedation, on the other hand, is more difficult to control. Unlike other forms of sedation, nitrous oxide sedation acts as a painkiller for soft tissue like gums as well as a sedative. It may only reduce some pain, so numbing will be used in conjunction with the laughing gas.

After the laughing gas is cut off, the nitrous oxide is completely gone from the body within five minutes, so patients can drive home safely.

Not for Everyone

While nitrous oxide sedation works well for the majority of patients, some patients should opt for a different form of sedation. Those who can't breathe through their nose obviously wouldn't be able to receive laughing gas. Asthmatics and people with breathing issues should also consider choosing a different sedation method. Your dentist will ultimately decide whether inhalation sedation is a good fit for you.

If you experience mild to moderate dental anxiety, you may want to consider using nitrous oxide sedation during your next visit.

To learn more about nitrous oxide sedation by Grand Rapids Dentist Kent Wildern DDS or to make an appointment, please contact our office or call us directly at (616) 364-8716.