Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)

Nitrous Oxide is a sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which you can breathe.

Nitrous Oxide has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. Nitrous oxide is safe, the patient receives 50-70% oxygen with no less than 30% nitrous oxide. At Creekside Dental, we offer conscious sedation.

The patient is able to breathe on their own and remain in control of all bodily functions.

The patient may experience mild amnesia and may fall asleep, not remembering all of what happened during their appointment.

There are many advantages to using Nitrous Oxide

  • The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation.
  • There is no after effect such as a “hangover”.
  • Inhalation sedation is safe with no side effects on your heart and lungs, etc.
  • Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging.
  • It works rapidly as it reaches the brain within 20 seconds. In as little as 2-3 minutes its relaxation and pain killing properties develop.

Reasons to not use Nitrous Oxide

You should not utilize Nitrous Oxide if you have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Though there are no other major contraindications to using nitrous oxide, you may not want to use it if you have emphysema, exotic chest problems, M.S., a cold or other difficulties with breathing.

You may want to ask your dentist for a “5 minute trial” to see how you feel with this type of sedation method before proceeding.

Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is commonly used to help patients relax during dental procedures. However, there are certain situations where nitrous oxide should not be used:

Respiratory Conditions: Patients with respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), severe asthma, or any condition that may compromise breathing may not be suitable candidates for nitrous oxide.

Pregnancy: While nitrous oxide is generally considered safe during pregnancy, it’s recommended to avoid using it during the first trimester unless necessary. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider or obstetrician before undergoing dental procedures during pregnancy.

Certain Medical Conditions: Patients with conditions such as middle ear infections, sinusitis, or recently undergone ear surgery should avoid nitrous oxide, as it can exacerbate these conditions.

Drug or Alcohol Dependency: Patients who have a history of drug or alcohol dependency may not be suitable candidates for nitrous oxide due to its potential for abuse.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Prolonged exposure to nitrous oxide can inhibit vitamin B12’s activity, potentially leading to deficiency. Patients with known vitamin B12 deficiency may need to avoid nitrous oxide or take supplements to counteract its effects.

Severe Anxiety or Mental Conditions: While nitrous oxide is often used to help patients relax during dental procedures, individuals with severe anxiety disorders or certain mental conditions may not respond well to its effects.

Recent Eye Surgery: Nitrous oxide can increase intraocular pressure, so patients who have recently undergone eye surgery or have conditions such as glaucoma should avoid its use.

Please always make sure that your dentist or healthcare provider knows about your complete medical history and any underlying conditions before using nitrous oxide or undergoing any dental procedures. They can advise you on whether it’s safe and appropriate for you.