Laughing gas (aka nitrous oxide) has been used by dentists to safely sedate their patients for well over 150 years. It has been proven to be a very reliable and popular sedative as well as a mild anesthetic at higher concentrations. As long as it is administered properly, it has a very small number of adverse effects or complications.
What Does it Feel Like?
The first chemists and physicians that experimented with nitrous oxide as a sedative observed that patients who had inhaled nitrous oxide showed a state of euphoria, and sometimes erupted in laughter. Thus its more commonly known name of laughing gas. The gas also had the ability to numb any sensation of pain.
While on nitrous oxide, the patient will smell a faint sweetness, and report a light-headedness or “tingly” effect, mainly from the extremities. The gas not only depresses pain, but provides a calming relaxation, and also eliminates the gag reflex which makes it very helpful to dentists working inside the mouth.
Is Laughing Gas Safe?
The mildness of nitrous oxide as a sedative cannot be overstated. Its popularity among dentists is proof of its safety and success in doing what its supposed to do–relieve pain and discomfort. Post-use, the effects are minimal as nitrous oxide diffuses quickly out of the patient by natural breathing. The small percentage of side-effects reported may be slight nausea on an empty stomach. So, a light snack is suggested before your dental visit.
If you’re concerned about the use of sedatives, Dr. Greg Sefcik would be happy to explain the benefits of nitrous oxide. Please contact Denali Dental to make an appointment at: 303-254-4444, or come by our office in Northglenn, Colorado.