Conscious Sedation Services | Loma Linda

What is Nitrous Oxide Dentistry?

Nitrous oxide dentistry is one form of sedation dentistry. This is the type of dentistry where the patient is completely relaxed yet alert enough to follow the instructions of the dentist during oral surgery. It’s been shown to be helpful with children and patients who are phobic about visiting the dentist’s office. But how is nitrous oxide sedation dentistry different from other types of sedation dentistry? What are its benefits and drawbacks?

Benefits of Nitrous Oxide Dentistry

Nitrous oxide is also known as laughing gas. One of its benefits is that it can be inhaled, so it is recommended for patients who have a fear of needles. Because it’s a gas, it reaches the brain quickly to induce a state of relaxation. The dentist can quickly adjust the levels of gas depending on the type and length of surgery. This type of control greatly reduces the risk of the patient being overdosed. Also, the addition of oxygen lengthens the amount of time laughing gas can be administered.

Another benefit of laughing gas is that it leaves the body very rapidly after it’s stopped. Nitrous oxide will be completely gone from a patient’s body within five minutes after the gas is discontinued. This allows a patient to drive him or herself home without a companion.

In addition, nearly anyone can have nitrous oxide sedation dentistry. This includes people with pre­existing conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Nitrous oxide is also non-allergenic.

Nitrous Oxide Sedation Dentistry Drawbacks

There are a few people for whom nitrous oxide sedation dentistry isn’t ideal, such as those who tend to become nauseous while taking nitrous oxide. People who have trouble breathing through their nose because they have a cold or some other problem should postpone using nitrous oxide until the trouble clears. Patients who find wearing an oxygen mask exceptionally uncomfortable are also not good candidates. People who suffer from certain lung diseases like emphysema or who have multiple sclerosis shouldn’t take nitrous oxide. It should also be avoided by women who are in the first trimester of pregnancy. Patients should consult with their doctor if they’re not sure whether nitrous oxide dentistry is right for them.

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