Nitrous Oxide In Dentistry

What is nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide is a colorless gas commonly referred to as laughing gas. It has a pleasant taste. It is mostly used in dental procedures to relieve pain and anxiety. When it is used for mild seduction, it can make one to feel relaxed, warm, happy or silly.

Administering nitrous oxide.

An equipment that contains compressed gases and an apparatus for delivering the nitrous oxide gas to the patient. It contains a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. The desired quantities of these mixtures are administered through the turning of knobs and switches. Pressure gauges and flow-meters regulate the flow of the mixture of gases. This mixture is delivered through a tube which is usually connected to the cannula. This cannula is placed over one’s nose. Modern machines have double masks. The outer mask drains away any waste gas. It is usually connected to a vacuum machine. The inner mask is usually put over the patient’s nose.

nitrous-oxideWhat is the importance of nitrous oxide?

  • There is no hang-over effect experienced on the use of this gas. The gas is removed from the body once the supply of it is stopped within five minutes.
  • It can be used as anesthetics in dental procedures involving gums. For instance in deep cleaning. It relieves pain on very soft tissues such as gums.
  • There are no injections required during the administration of this gas.
  • The process of inhalation sedation is safe to the human body since there are few side effects to the body organs such as lungs, brain, kidneys, heart and liver.
  • The relaxation and process of relieving pain develops after two or three minutes since nitrous oxide travels to the brain quickly within twenty seconds hence this gas works rapidly.
  • Nitrous oxide allows alteration of the depth of the sedation from time to time allowing the person administering the gas to either decrease or increase the sedation depth.

Working of the nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide is safe for use for longer periods of time when mixed with oxygen. In sedation dentistry, a mixture of 50% oxygen and 50% nitrous oxide is used. This mixture is called entonox or the gas and air. There are various levels of sedation experienced on the use of these mixture. These levels depend on the concentration and duration of the administration of this mixture. They include:

  • Warm sensations.
  • Tingling sensation which occur around the legs and arms.
  • Euphoria and a feeling of well-being.
  • Sleepiness can occur in case the level of sedation becomes deep.

It is advisable to inform the Raleigh Dentist on any experience of unpleasant symptoms. Moreover, one can take off the mask. The dream stage which result to sleepiness shows that the nitrous oxide concentration is very high. Side effects such as nausea is likely to occur at this stage. Gradual increase in the amount of nitrous oxide is recommended after every visit to the dentist since clients’ needs vary with time.