nitrous oxideNitrous gas, also known as happy or laughing gas, is primarily used for sedation by medical professionals, including dentists. The main advantage of nitrous gas is that it is a safe and effective sedation method.


N20 is the least potent inhalation anesthetic, thus making it a preferred option for all dental patients. It’s also a valuable adjunct since it’s combined with a more potent anesthetic to help with a quick onset and offset. For our short time together we are going to learn more about the safety of nitrous gas. 


What is Nitrous Oxide?


Nitrous oxide is a gas which is often referred to as none other than laughing gas. It’s a non-flammable, odorless, and colorless gas. Even though it’s a non-flammable gas, it can support combustion like oxygen. Nitrous oxide also leads to euphoria; thus, its nickname laughing gas. Some uses of nitrous oxide include procedural sedation, treating severe pain, general anesthesia, and dental anesthesia.


What is Nitrous Oxide Used for at the Dentist?


Dentists opt to use nitrous oxide because it’s an effective and safe sedation method. It helps relax patients quickly, and its effects also wear off immediately after breathing pure oxygen. Moreover, nitrous oxide doesn’t put patients to sleep, thus allowing them to hear and respond to the dentist’s instructions or questions. Dentists can use nitrous oxide on uncooperative, anxious or fearful patients, patients with special healthcare needs, younger patients undergoing lengthy procedures, patients with gag reflexes, and patients who don’t respond to local anesthesia.


Is it Safe?


Dentists prefer inhalation sedation therapy among all their patients, including kids. Nitrous oxide (N20) is safe when used correctly. It’s easy to administer and doesn’t entail a lengthy recovery time. The gas is tasteless, odorless, and colorless; therefore, it isn’t unpleasant to patients. Nitrous oxide is also an excellent solution for patients afraid of the dentist or those who experience anxiety when preparing for a dental procedure.


The disadvantages of nitrous oxide are quite limited. Patents can have euphoria and lightheadedness, but they go away after the gas is no longer administered. Over-sedation can result in the patient experiencing flashbacks or entering a dream state. However, patients should have some peace of mind since problems concerning inhalation sedation are statistically low.


Can Everyone Use Nitrous Oxide?


Everyone can use nitrous oxide, including kids. The gas can help relax an anxious kid, thus taking the edge away during treatment. Nitrous oxide also has some pain-relieving or analgesic properties that help children further. Using the gas on children helps eliminate the sense of time, thus helping children with shorter attention spans to undergo extensive treatments. Dentists prefer using the gas since it’s safe and effective for all patients. Since it works quickly, it helps keep the patients relaxed, and the effects quickly wear off once the patient inhales 100% oxygen through a mask.


As a patient, you can have some peace of mind when your dentist uses nitrous oxide as a sedative. It can help ease your worries and make dental treatment easier and quicker. As a parent, nitrous oxide is safe for dentists to use on your children. Its disadvantages are minimal, but it’s advisable only to visit a licensed and reputable dentist.


If you or your child are in need of dental treatment that requires nitrous oxide, our dental team at South Fallsburg Dental would be happy to discuss your options and concerns with you. It’s important to us that you feel confident in any dental treatment you will need.  Call our office at (845) 434-1202 or request an appointment online for your dental treatment needs.