If you are looking to take the edge off your next dental visit, look no further than nitrous oxide. One of the biggest benefits of nitrous oxide sedation is that you are able to drive after your procedure. Most people feel like they have had a glass of wine or maybe just a general relaxed feeling. At times, you may think things are funny even though in reality they wouldn't be something you would laugh at- hence the other name "laughing gas".
How does it work?
Nitrous causes your blood vessels to dilate, or enlarge, allowing blood to flow and lowering your blood pressure. Nitrous works mysteriously on one of the pain centers in the brain. You will still need to be numbed for dental work. However, if it would take something with a stimulus of 5 for you to feel pain, under nitrous it may take a stimulus of 7 or more before you would feel pain. This is very effective if you are nervous about the numbing process, have needle phobia or are just generally uneasy about it all.
Does it work for everyone?
Just like any sedation, each individual will show a unique response to nitrous. These effects range from not feeling any different to causing a patient to drift off to sleep. We are able to change the amount of nitrous delivered, so most of the time we can find a happy balance of sedation without side effects. There are some people who are not candidates for nitrous including those with COPD, pregnant, and those taking erectile dysfunction medications. Side effects include nausea, tingling of extremities and light headedness.
Is nitrous safe?
Nitrous is one of the safest options for sedation. Your body's red blood cells selectively bind to oxygen molecules before it will bind nitrous molecules. This means that it is actually impossible to "overdose" on nitrous oxygen for a short procedure. Once the nitrous is turned off, your body quickly eliminates any nitrous particles within 5 minutes. The effects wear off quickly so you can return to normal activities soon after your procedure, once you are feeling fine and the doctor administers 100% oxygen for at least 5 minutes.
If you are interested in adding nitrous for your next procedure or cleaning visit, let us know at your next visit! We are happy to serve you and make you as comfortable as possible.