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Nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas, is one of the most popular forms of sedative used by dentists who offer sedation dentistry. Despite its name, nitrous oxide rarely induces laughter in patients. Nevertheless, it is a very useful tool in creating a sense of euphoria that relaxes a patient enough to undergo a medical or dental procedure. In dentistry, nitrous oxide is the lightest form of sedation given. It does not have pain-relief properties of its own but is administered alongside a local anesthetic so that the patient doesn’t experience any discomfort during their dental appointment.
How does nitrous oxide work?
Nitrous oxide works by triggering the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in the reward system of our body. As well as controlling the movements we can make, it also helps to control our emotional responses to situations. When our body contains high levels of dopamine, we experience a euphoric state that enables us to perceive less danger and feel less anxious or fearful. Our general awareness of what is happening around us may be a little limited and many people are more suggestible, but you will still be able to hear and respond to requests that your dentist may have. This state of being is much more conducive to having dental work done.
How is nitrous oxide administered?
In sedation dentistry, nitrous oxide is administered via a mask placed over the nose, but that leaves your mouth clear for your dental work. Since the effects are instant and only last for a few seconds beyond your last inhalation of the gas, it will be delivered continuously for the duration of your procedure. After your dental work is complete, the mask will be removed, and you should feel back to your usual self within 10 to 15 minutes.
Am I a suitable candidate for nitrous oxide?
If you are considering sedation dentistry, you will need to be thoroughly assessed to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for nitrous oxide. This will involve looking at your past medical history and considering the type of dental procedure that you require. We will then be able to make a recommendation as to whether nitrous oxide is the best form of sedation for your requirements.
If you would like more information about nitrous oxide, or to schedule a consultation, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices.
Getting a dental makeover? Having your teeth cleaned, aligned, and cared for should never be something to dread. At Ironwood Dental Care, we do things differently. The whole family can look forward to a trip to our dental office. You can relax knowing that we make every effort to provide you with a pleasant, pain-free visit, and be assured that we challenge ourselves to offer top-quality care at the fairest prices. Our passion is transforming teeth, not penny-pinching, so we’ll always discuss costs and finance options upfront to develop a customized plan that works for you. From teeth whitening to Invisalign® to sleep services, we've got your cosmetic, restorative, and preventive dental needs covered.