Nitrous Oxide Available
Nitrous oxide (better known as laughing gas) is one of the most popular anesthetic treatments in the medical industry. In particular, roughly 1/3 of dental patients will receive the drug when undergoing tooth extractions and other common procedures. In contrast to general anesthesia, which typically has stronger and longer-lasting effects, nitrous oxide provides a feeling of comfort and relaxation that generally wears off quickly after the procedure has been completed. It is very safe and has been relied upon by dentists throughout the world; it is no wonder why the drug has been deemed laughing gas.
The effect of the substance will vary from patient to patient, but most people will experience numbness and a pleasant feeling with just a small dose. The fact that only a small amount of nitrous oxide needs to be administered is another reason dentists use it for anesthetic purposes. Given the nature of most dental procedures, this drug offers the perfect combination of timing and effectiveness; most patients can safely leave and drive without assistance after having nitrous gas, which is not the case with general anesthesia.
How Nitrous Oxide Works
In regards to application, nitrous oxide is administered via a mask that is placed over the patient’s nose. The drug is then inhaled in a small dose and given a few minutes to take effect. Sedation will occur and the patient will feel numb in the face around the mouth. When it comes to nitrous oxide, many people fear that the drug will not work and that they will feel the pain of the procedure (which is a main reason most people avoid the dentist’s office). This is an unwarranted concern, however, because the dentist can quickly and safely increase the dose of the drug to meet the needs of their patient.
Once the effects have visibly taken effect (i.e. the patient confirms the feeling of numbness or begins to act “loopy”), the dentist can proceed with the operation. Another thing to keep in mind is that with some operations, the dentist will also administer oral sedative injections to completely numb the region. While this is not always necessary, it does give reassurance to patients that are nervous about the operation.
Is Nitrous Oxide Safe?
Nitrous oxide is one of the safest forms of anesthesia used by medical professionals, which is why it continues to be one of the most popular. There are little to no side effects, and very few patients will demonstrate a resistance to the drug. There have been cases of nausea in people that have received larger doses of the gas, but these incidences are minimal and are by no means common. The best thing about nitrous oxide is that it is fast acting, which makes it especially useful when working with children. After the procedure has been completed, the dentist will administer pure oxygen for a few minutes. This works to flush any of the remaining gas that is present in the patient’s system. Once this is done, the effects of the nitrous oxide will be eliminated.