There could be several reasons why you may want some sort of sedation for your next dentist visit. Maybe you are anxious or maybe you need to undergo extensive dental treatment and sedation will make the entire procedure simple. Or maybe you need to find a safe way to keep your child still and relaxed during the dentist visit.
Laughing gas can be the answer to all these possible scenarios. But, what exactly is laughing gas, who can use it, and what are the side effects associated with it?
What Is Laughing Gas?
Visiting the dentist is not the same experience for everyone. Some people tend to get overly anxious about the dental procedures they need to undergo and may postpone their appointment until a simple issue turns into a big and potentially dangerous problem.
However, it is possible to feel relaxed while in the dentist's chair.
Nitrous oxide (N2O,) also known as laughing gas, is a mild and safe sedative that can help dental patients overcome their fears and get the dental treatment they need. Unlike other types of sedation, such as general anesthesia, the patient remains awake and aware of his surroundings but will start feeling more relaxed.
Inhaling nitrous oxide helps slow down your nervous system and makes you feel a bit light-headed. You may experience general numbness throughout the body, but ultimately you will feel relaxed and comfortable enough to receive the dental treatment you need.
Despite what its name may suggest, laughing gas will not make you laugh uncontrollably. You may giggle once or twice during the procedure, but the effects of nitrous oxide generally have to do with how relaxed you will feel in the dentist's chair.
How Is Laughing Gas Administered
Administering laughing gas involves breathing a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide through a facemask. All you have to do is breathe normally and the anesthetics will go to your lungs and help you feel the effect quite quickly.
Is Laughing Gas Safe?
Laughing gas has been used in dentistry for a long time and is completely safe. Its effects can wear out quickly by breathing pure oxygen through a mask.
Most of the patients that receive nitrous oxide don't experience any side effects. However, adverse effects may appear if the patient inhales the anesthetic too quickly or if the level of sedation wasn't adequate to their needs.
Some of the side effects include:
- Excessive sweating
Although laughing gas is generally safe, it's not for everyone. Tell your dentists if you have any of the following conditions:
- You have a history of respiratory illnesses;
- You have a history of substance abuse (mixing nitrous oxide with drugs and alcohol can increase the risk of accidents or death.
- You're in the first trimester of pregnancy;
- You have a vitamin B-12 deficiency
- You have a history of mental health conditions.
The Benefits of Laughing Gas
- Laughing gas allows anxious patients and children to have a pleasant and relaxing dental experience.
- There are no short or long-term effects to inhaling nitrous oxide.
- The level of sedation can be increased or decreased according to the patient's needs.
- It's safe, efficient, and extremely fast. It works within 20 seconds and patients will experience its painkilling properties within 2-3 minutes.
- Inhaling nitrous oxide can minimise the gag reflex.
Do you have any questions about your upcoming dental procedure? We are eager to help you! Call Twin Lakes Dental today!