What Is Nitrous Sedation?
Benefits of Nitrous Sedation
Nitrous sedation uses nitrous oxide and is also called laughing gas. This is the most commonly used type of inhaled anesthetic in dentistry. It's also used in emergency departments and ambulatory surgical centers.
When used alone it has an impressive safety profile and helps patients to relax for minor oral surgical procedures. Nitric oxide can help people overcome anxiety and the anticipation of pain.
The gas is colorless and virtually odorless. It has very little effect on the respiratory system. Using nitrous sedation is sometimes called “conscious sedation” because you continue to respond to verbal commands and there is no loss of protective reflexes. The effect of nitrous oxide or nitrous sedation is predictable in the majority of people.
Side Effects of Laughing Gas
Before using nitrous oxide, you should avoid eating any heavy meals and remove your contact lenses if you wear them. Gas leaks around the bridge of your nose may dry your contact lenses while they're in your eyes.
Most people don't have any adverse side effects to nitrous sedation. However, it is best if someone is there to drive you home. You may experience a slight headache, excessive sweating, or sleepiness as you become more awake and alert. You can prevent nausea and vomiting by avoiding food before the procedure and not eating a big meal for up to 3 hours afterward.
Who Should Not Use Nitrous Sedation?
While nitrous sedation is safe for most people, you and your dentist can discuss your options, as it may not be the right choice for you. Tell your dentist if you:
- Are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
- Have a history of respiratory illness
- Have a vitamin B-12 deficiency
- Have a history of substance abuse or mental conditions
- Have an enzyme condition called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency (MTHFR) causing elevated levels of homocysteine