Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is the most frequently used method for easing mild-to-moderate anxiety. Administered through a small mask that fits over your nose, it is an effective way to calm anxiety. You will be asked to breathe through your nose and not through the mouth. As the gas begins to work, you will become calm, although you will still be awake and able to talk with the dentist.
At the end of your appointment, you will resume breathing regular oxygen, and all the effects of nitrous oxide will disappear. As you become more comfortable during dental visits, nitrous oxide may not be necessary.
There are many advantages to using Nitrous Oxide
- 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 on your heart and lungs, etc.
- Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging.
- It works rapidly as it reaches the brain within 20 seconds. In as little as 2-3 minutes its relaxation and pain killing properties develop.
Reasons to not use Nitrous Oxide
You should not utilize Nitrous Oxide if you have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 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.
You may want to ask your dentist for a “5 minute trial” to see how you feel with this type of sedation method before proceeding.
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