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Everything You Need to Know About Nitrous Oxide at the Dentist

Most individuals are nervous about visiting a dentist because they are afraid of the discomfort that might come about during their dental procedure. It is important to have an idea of what you may expect if your dentist has recommended nitrous oxide for your procedure. Nitrous Oxide, also known as, ‘laughing gas’ is a sedative agent used by the dentist to make you feel comfortable and relaxed during a dental procedure.

It is colorless and odorless which means you may be unable to see the gas until its side effects start to manifest. It is an effective sedative agent because it emits pleasurable feelings that relax patients when undergoing a dental procedure. It has been used for many years in dental hospitals because it works quickly and its side effects are reversible. In this article, we will be discussing everything you need to know about Nitrous Oxide at the dentist.

Why do Dentists use Nitrous Oxide?

Dentists use Nitrous Oxide to make patients feel relaxed, as they go about basic dental procedures. Occasionally, this type of gas is used on patients who have severe dental anxiety. Although Nitrous Oxide is also used in hospitals, its side effects are not strong enough for major surgeries. However, patients might be given Nitrous Oxide by their medical personnel to prepare them for a more powerful anesthetic. Laughing gas cannot be used on every patient since many people can withstand minor dental procedures without any problem. Furthermore, the dentist will numb the area as a mandatory procedure to prevent you from feeling pain on the area being worked on. Nitrous Oxide is useful to anyone with dental anxiety, children, and individuals with special needs.

How does it Work?

A dentist places a mask over your nose when administering nitrous oxide. The mask contains a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide that allows you to breathe in. The dentist can adjust the concentration of the nitrous oxide to fit the needs of their patients. This type of gas has several effects on the brain, as it decreases pain by blocking pain-signaling neurons. It also minimizes anxiety by increasing the activity of GABA receptors. Patients are likely to feel content or euphoric after the dental procedure because it releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that sends emotional responses to the brain.

As it takes effect in your body, it makes you feel like time passes more quickly, which allows the dentist to do their job. You are less likely to choke with dental instruments in your mouth because of the side effects of Nitrous Oxide. Since it helps you relax and feel comfortable, you will not be fidgety during the procedure. It is also important to know that the effects of laughing gas may differ from one person to another even though most patients feel relaxed under Nitrous Oxide.

While some patients may laugh aloud and feel giddy, others feel light-headed and relaxed. Some people might experience a tingling sensation in their arms and legs while others may find them to be heavy. Nitrous oxide is not as strong as other sedatives because most patients can still have a conversation with dental staff during the procedure. It is also common for others not to remember anything that happened during the dental procedure. The dentist will then keep the oxygen running for a few minutes and turn off the nitrous oxide after the procedure is complete. This procedure allows your body to get rid of the Nitrous Oxide in your body.

Is Nitrous Oxide Safe?

Nitrous Oxide is considered an effective sedative agent in dentistry because it is safe even for children. It does not cause any allergic reactions and the side effects that you may experience during the procedure are reversible. Although it may not have any lingering effects, your dentist might ask you to avoid a heavy meal before your procedure to prevent a feeling of nausea. Nitrous Oxide might not be recommended to claustrophobic patients who find it uncomfortable to wear a mask. It might also not be used for patients who have difficulties breathing through their nose or have nose congestion problems.

Your dentist may ask you a few questions about your medical condition and history to determine if Nitrous Oxide is the right sedative agent for you. You do not have to worry about anything when undergoing a dental procedure that uses nitrous oxide as a sedative. It not only helps to reduce the pain you may feel during the procedure but also makes you feel calm and comfortable during the entire process.

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