It’s No Laughing Matter: Nitrous Oxide Is Safe

October 13, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — rallenddsteam @ 10:17 pm
Smiling dentist

Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is a colorless, odorless gas that has been used as an anesthetic and sedative in dentistry for more than a century. When inhaled, it slows the body’s reaction time, raises the pain threshold, and creates a sense of well-being while leaving the patient awake and alert enough to communicate with the dentist. It works quickly and is eliminated from the body shortly after the treatment ends. Here’s why nitrous oxide is considered one of the safest forms of dental sedation as well as a few uncommon side effects.

How Is Nitrous Oxide Used?

For certain dental procedures or patients with mild dental anxiety, a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide is administered to a patient through a nose mask attached to a hose. The patient should begin to feel calm and relaxed within minutes and will retain their ability to speak, move, and respond to their dentist’s questions or directions. These effects should vanish within minutes after the patient’s feed of the gas ceases. Patients can expect to be able to drive themselves from the dentist’s office and return to everyday activities shortly after receiving nitrous oxide treatment.

How Safe is Nitrous Oxide?

While using nitrous oxide recreationally can be dangerous, it is considered extremely safe when administered by a trained professional. It is non-addictive and has no known long-term side effects, but it may cause some mildly unpleasant reactions in a small number of patients. Using it is not recommended for patients with certain medical conditions such as chronic pulmonary disease.

What Are Some Potential Side Effects of Nitrous Oxide?

While most patients undergoing nitrous oxide treatment will not experience any adverse reactions, some may experience some short-term side effects. In many cases, this is due to the patient inhaling the gas too quickly during treatment. A few of these side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Shivering
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting

In rare cases, a patient may have an allergic reaction. Get medical help immediately if you experience:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Hives
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing

Nitrous oxide is a safe and common form of dental sedation that is approved for use in both adults and children. However, it is not right for everyone. Consulting with your dentist can help determine if nitrous oxide is a good treatment for you.

About the Author

Dr. Rodney L. Allen earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery at Baylor College of Dentistry and has attended a number of continuing education programs such as Nobel Biocare™ courses in implant dentistry and classes at Spear Education. His office in Parker, CO offers preventive, restorative, cosmetic, and emergency dentistry in addition to dental sedation treatments. To learn more about nitrous oxide, contact the office online or dial (720) 851-6784.

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