Nitrous oxide, commonly referred to as “laughing gas,” has been used in dental procedures since the 19th century. Modern nitrous oxide sedation is a safe, popular, and effective option for patients who experience mild to moderate dental anxiety.
Nitrous oxide provides the lightest form of dental sedation, called “conscious sedation.” Patients remain awake, relaxed, and able to communicate and respond to instructions.
The nitrous oxide delivery system provides a precise mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen gases. The gas is inhaled through a facemask and begins to work immediately. The level of sedation is monitored throughout the procedure to make sure the patient stays relaxed and free from pain. Once the dental procedure is complete, pure oxygen is administered, and recovery takes place within minutes.
One of the advantages of choosing nitrous oxide sedation is this convenient recovery time. With pills or IV sedation, you might need several hours before and after the procedure both to allow the sedation to take effect and to recover when you’re done. You should also have someone available to drive you to and from the appointment.
Nitrous oxide, on the other hand, is used only for the duration of your procedure, takes effect right away, and begins leaving your system as soon as you stop inhaling it. You will be able to resume your normal activities almost immediately.
Your dental experience should be as relaxing and stress-free as possible. Talk to your dental team about the types of sedation available, and they will work with you to decide on the best possible option. If you have mild to moderate levels of anxiety, wish to remain awake and relaxed throughout your visit, and prefer a rapid recovery period, nitrous oxide could be the ideal sedation choice for you.