Nitrous oxide, also characterized as laughing or happy gas, is an inhalation anaesthetic, mostly used during dental procedures. It won’t make patients laugh hysterically. Rather, it brings a sense of relaxation, elevates the mood, and reduces pain or anxiety.
It is given through a small nosepiece, and patients are supposed to feel its effects. They usually remain awake throughout the procedure and recover from it right after the dental treatment has been completed. Moreover, after the effects of sedation completely wear off, patients can even drive back to their homes by themselves.
HOW DOES LAUGHING GAS WORK?
Nitrous oxide is a virtually odorless, colorless gas with a somewhat sweet smell. It temporarily slows down the central nervous system by creating an effect of euphoria. It also has a little effect on the respiratory system
When patients inhale this gas, it prevents oxygen from getting to their brains and blood and displaces the air in their lungs. This deprivation induces the effects of calmness or relaxation, and some people also experience mild hallucinations. However, the effects of nitrous oxide usually subside after two to three minutes once patients stop inhaling it. The main motive of this sedation is to reduce patients’ discomfort during complex dental procedures.
BENEFITS OF NITROUS OXIDE SEDATION IN DENTISTRY:
Nitrous oxide sedation usually has very minimal or no side effects; that’s why it is widely preferred. However, it has various other benefits as well that have made it extremely popular:
1. ANXIETY REDUCTION:
Nitrous oxide proves to be an effective solution for patients who suffer from extreme anxiety issues. Such people usually avoid dental procedures and cause severe harm to their oral health in the long run. In such cases, laughing gas is considered the most effective option to help curb fears and anxieties.
Right after its inhalation, patients feel giddy and relaxed, as it creates a mood-altering effect. It also makes patients more comfortable showing up to their regular dental appointments by creating a sense of peace. Moreover, it is a completely safe and successful alternative to other anesthetic options.
2. QUICKER DENTAL PROCEDURES:
The nitrous oxide gas enters the bloodstream right after its inhalation and affects the brain and body quickly. It stimulates a pleasant and euphoric state in anxious patients at once. Because of this rapid onset, it aids dentists in easily completing the treatments. Hence speeding up the whole dental treatment process.
3. NON-INVASIVE METHOD:
Nitrous oxide sedation is a completely safe, effective, and non-invasive method for uncomfortable or fearful patients. Plus, its administration does not require the use of any needles or shots. Instead, it is directly inhaled through a breathing mask. Patients can absorb this gas through their lungs and rapidly feel its effects. Furthermore, it keeps patients alert and responsive throughout the dental procedures. This makes nitrous oxide sedation a completely safe option for children as well.
USES OF NITROUS OXIDE GAS:
Nitrous oxide gas is administered during various medical and dental procedures. Combined with oxygen, it acts as an analgesic or anesthetic agent. However, it is mostly preferred during various oral treatments because of its general safety.
Some dental treatments prove to be a little intimidating and make it extremely difficult for patients to stay calm or sit still. Here the role of nitrous oxide sedation comes in. It exerts quick effects and ensures that patients are tranquil throughout the whole treatment process. Dentists usually use this sedative gas while performing procedures like wisdom teeth removal, dental implants, and other dental restorative treatments.
In a nutshell, this sedative gas makes individuals remain calm while their teeth are being fixed. And allows them to return to their regular day not long after attending the dental appointment. Moreover, this method is extremely safe for every patient, whether they are kids or senior citizens.
THE SIDE EFFECTS OF LAUGHING GAS:
Laughing gas is not as intense as other anesthetic options and wears off right after an individual stops breathing it. Therefore, most patients do not experience any apparent reactions. However, if the nitrous oxide levels rise too high or are inhaled too quickly, certain side effects can occur, including:
- Excessive sweating
- Nausea or vomiting
To avoid these complications, patients should continuously receive oxygen for at least 5 minutes after the supply of nitrous gas is turned off. The oxygen purifies the lungs and helps patients become more attentive and awake.
Dentists also advise their patients to eat something light before going for the procedure. And avoid big meals for 2 to 3 hours after getting done with their treatment. This can effectively prevent issues like nausea or vomiting. Moreover, always consult your dentist before leaving their office or deciding to drive your way back home.