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The Benefits of Nitrous Oxide for Dental Anxiety

By Burton Gooch on December 12, 2015


A dentist mirror being held to a woman's smileDon't let dental anxiety stop you from receiving necessary dental care. Sedation dentistry techniques can help patients with mild to severe dental anxiety to feel relaxed and calm during dental visits. Nitrous oxide is an extremely fast acting sedative, making it particularly helpful for patients undergoing dental care. Dr. Burton Gooch offers this overview to explain the effects of nitrous oxide and how it plays a beneficial role in our dental office. To learn more about nitrous oxide benefits, contact our Birmingham, AL practice today.

What Is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas,” is a gaseous sedative. Safe and odorless, nitrous oxide is mixed with oxygen when administered in dental sedation. The mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen is breathed in through a mask fitted over the nose. The gaseous nature of nitrous oxide enables its sedative effects to be extremely fast acting. This is because the gas reaches the brain and bloodstream almost instantly.

What Are the Effects of Nitrous Oxide?

The effects of nitrous oxide will vary depending on the level of sedation administered. The degree of sedation may be adjusted by altering the ratio of nitrous oxide to oxygen so patients may stay alert but relaxed or so relaxed they may feel sleepy and have dreamlike thoughts. Some possible effects include:

  • Light headedness
  • Feeling “giggly”
  • Tingling arms and legs
  • Warmness throughout the body
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Feeling relaxed
  • Feeling calm
  • Dreamlike thinking
  • Sleepiness

The Benefits of Nitrous Oxide

The use of nitrous oxide in the dental office has many benefits. Not only is it beneficial for those who suffer from severe dental anxiety, it can also help keep those undergoing oral surgery or other major dental work comfortable during treatment. Some of the many benefits of nitrous oxide include:

  • Fast acting: The nitrous oxide gas enters the bloodstream almost instantly, allowing the sedative and pain-killing properties of the nitrous oxide to reach the brain and the body quickly.
  • Increases comfort: Nitrous oxide allows patients to feel relaxed and calm during treatment, increasing comfort and reducing anxiety.
  • Pain reliever: Nitrous oxide is highly effective at relieving pain within minutes of administration.
  • Easily administered: Nitrous oxide is easily administered through a breathing mask.
  • No use of needles: Unlike some sedation methods, nitrous oxide treatment does not require needles to be administered.
  • Little recovery time: The effects of nitrous oxide wear off quickly once a patient stops breathing the gas. Nitrous oxide is one of the few sedation methods in which patients are typically able to drive themselves home after treatment.
  • Safe: Nitrous oxide is easily monitored during sedation, making it a very safe treatment method.
  • Helps dental anxiety sufferers: Nitrous oxide helps those with dental anxiety feel comfortable and relaxed during treatment, regardless of the severity of anxiety.

Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about sedation dentistry techniques and if they are right for your needs, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Gooch.

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