Nitrous oxide has been used by dentists since the mid-19th century as a mild sedative for their patients during a dental procedure. Because the use of nitrous oxide has been found to be safe and effective, many dentists today continue to use nitrous oxide in their dental practices.
Nitrous oxide is perhaps the most common sedative used in dentistry and is the safest. It takes affect quickly and when it is no longer needed, it is quickly reversed, and leaves no lasting effects. While under the effect of nitrous oxide you are fully conscious and able to respond to requests and questions.
Nitrous oxide is often used in hospital surgeries before another sedative or general anesthesia is administered. Its sedative effects help surgical patients relax and feel less anxiety which in turn helps them as the general anesthesia is administered and during the surgery itself.
If you or your child is having dental surgery, you will be given a local anesthetic injection to reduce or eliminate the pain from the surgery. Nitrous oxide may also be used to help you relax during the procedure.
We also realize that for many people, children included, going to the dentist can bring on a level of anxiety that can be difficult to manage. Even if the dental visit is for a general checkup or other non-surgical purpose, just the idea of going to the dentist can be difficult for some. Many dentists have found the use of nitrous oxide during a patients visit a beneficial way to help their patients relax and better manage the stress associated with some dental procedures.
For children, a visit to the dentist should be a fun experience whenever possible, and we work hard to be sure that your child feels safe and secure while they are here. In some cases the use of nitrous oxide during your childs dental visit may help your child to relax and feel more secure. Feel free to talk to your dentist at anytime if you feel that your child might benefit from using nitrous oxide during their dental visit.
How Nitrous Oxide is Administered
When nitrous oxide is used during your or your childs dental visit, you or your child will be sitting comfortably in the dental chair. An air mask will be placed over your nose, and the nitrous oxide will flow to the air mask. When you inhale, you will inhale the nitrous oxide. As the dental procedure comes to an end, the nitrous oxide will be turned off. After breathing normally for a short period of time, the effects of the nitrous oxide will wear off.
When dental surgery is planned, your dentist will discuss with you the use of nitrous oxide during the procedure. For more routine dental visits, nitrous oxide may also help alleviate the anxiety you or your child feels before or during the visit.