Nitrous Oxide—Is It Safe?
Nitrous oxide has been used in dentistry ever since its discovery in the early 1800s by a British scientist who found that inhaling nitrous gas produced a euphoric and highly pleasurable sensation.
It was about forty-four years later that a New York dentist realised that using the nitrous oxide while doing painful dental procedures was very efficient in distracting patients from the acute pain they would experience.
Ever since that discovery, nitrous oxide has been used in dentistry, and dentists have actually relied upon it for decades in pain management.
How Does It Work?
When nitrous oxide was initially used, it was not diluted, and would cause what was called hypoxia, creating a feeling of dizziness and other problems.
Fortunately, science found that mixing the nitrous oxide with oxygen eliminated the danger of hypoxia, and it is now used throughout the medical community to calm and safely sedate millions of patients worldwide.
Nitrous oxide is typically administered through a small mask via a tube that is connected to the cannister in which it is stored. It can be regulated through a flowmeter, which is easy and convenient for dentists, and their staff, to operate and maintain.
It has very few, if any, side effects and has not been shown to produce any allergic responses.
Nitrous oxide is considered to be the mildest form of sedation. It can be used on the very young to the elderly, in outpatient and inpatient settings, and has been declared as extremely safe for the vast majority of people.
The Final Word
The use of nitrous oxide not only relieves pain, but it also eases anxiety because it is considered an analgesic as well as a very weak anesthetic, and the effects can be quickly reversed once the nitrous has been eliminated and pure oxygen gas is administered.
Nitrous oxide is a great option because it is noninvasive, eases anxiety, and helps manage pain in a safe and effective manner for nearly all our patients.
If you have any questions about the use of nitrous oxide in our office, or the techniques, side effects, equipment, or training involved, please feel free to ask any of our staff members at any time.
We want you to feel safe and comfortable with any and all the procedures we use.
~Dr. Chai (a.k.a. Dr. Tooth!)