What is so great about Nitrous Oxide?

In our dental practice, we occasionally have patients express that they’d rather do anything than come see us.  For those few patients, there is something about being in the dental chair, hearing the noise of the drill, or anticipating feeling discomfort, that makes it difficult for them to seek dental care.  One way that we help them to lay their fears to rest, is by offering Nitrous Oxide, commonly referred to as laughing gas.  We have patients who have used it in the past and who will call to make sure that it is available before confirming their appointment.

Well what’s so great about Nitrous Oxide you might ask.  Below are five facts about this gas that make it a useful tool for those patients who have dental anxiety:

  • It has been around for many years and is safe for both adults and kids. There are very few medical conditions that would prohibit you from being able to use it.
  • You only have to avoid consuming solid foods and liquids for three hours before your appointment whereas with IV sedation, you cannot eat or drink anything after midnight the day before your appointment.
  • It is easy to use. You wear a nose mask that allows you to inhale the gas.  Today the mask comes in scents, such as mint for adults and bubble gum for kids.
  • Nitrous Oxide will help you relax and feel more at ease during your procedure. You are less aware of sounds from the dental equipment, less fearful of the treatment, and more tolerant of the anesthesia that may be used during your visit.
  • There is a very short recovery time. The gas is flushed out of your system just by inhaling 100% Oxygen for five minutes after the procedure.  This means that you can drive yourself home afterwards and do not need someone to accompany you out of the office.  With IV sedation, you need a driver, and  you will need to head  home and plan to  lay low and rest  for the remainder of the day following your procedure.

So if you do suffer from dental phobia, be sure to inquire about Nitrous Oxide.  It will help you to have a more relaxing, positive experience and may even help you to look forward to your visit.