Why is Nitrous Oxide used?
Nitrous Oxide, "Laughing Gas", "Happy Air", "Giggle Gas", the names are endless for this valuable sedative commonly used in dentistry and specifically, pediatric dentistry. The pediatric dentists at Chelsea Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics routinely employ the use of "Happy Air" when needed to help allay fears and to increase the chance for a successful dental visit involving invasive care. Nitrous Oxide is used as a sedative to calm the patient down prior to treatment or throughout a procedure.
What is Nitrous Oxide?
Nitrous Oxide, more commonly known as "laughing gas", is a combination of nitrogen and oxygen and is administered to the patient via a nasal mask that rests over the nose and will deliver the gas into the patient's system to effectively sedate him or her. During the delivery of Nitrous Oxide, children will smell a sweet aroma that will give them a sense of relaxation and well-being; similar to feeling giddy. The child never loses consciousness and easily responds to verbal commands. Nitrous Oxide's ultimate effect is to raise the pain threshold and make the child more comfortable during the procedure. It may also appear to the patient as though time has moved quickly during the entire time that they were under the influence of the sedative. After the procedure, letting the child take in regulated breaths of oxygen will reverse the effects of Nitrous Oxide.
Is Nitrous Oxide Safe?
It is a safe and effective alternative to anti-anxiety medication that is usually prescribed for the same purpose. In addition to that, Nitrous Oxide works well with patients with a sensitive gag reflex that may interfere with the delivery of the dental procedure or treatment. Parents who are concerned about the safety of using Nitrous Oxide need not worry. Nitrous Oxide is potentially the safest sedative that is being used in dentistry. It is an inhalational sedative and its combined features of rapid onset of effect, immediate reversibility, and adjustable dosing make it an ideal sedative that can be used in the pediatric population.