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Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous Oxide has been one of the main means for sedation used in dentistry for many years. It is a colorless gas that has a sweet odor and is typically non-irritating. The patient can breathe in the gas and has full control of their bodily functions. During treatment the patient may fall asleep. They may not fully remember what happened during the procedure.

The benefits of Nitrous Oxide include:

  • At any time during treatment, the depth of sedation can be increased or decreased.
  • Patients usually experience no side effects, such as a "hangover" feeling after inhaling nitrous oxide.
  • Nitrous oxide is safe for inhalation. There are no side effects on the heart, lungs, etc.
  • Nitrous oxide effectively reduces gagging.
  • Upon inhalation, nitrous oxide reaches the brain quickly (within 20 seconds). In 2 to 3 minutes patients experience calmness and pain killing properties develop.

Reasons to not use Nitrous Oxide

Although there are no major conditions or factors in which nitrous oxide may be harmful to use, persons with a cold, MS, emphysema, and those that experience unusual chest problems or have breathing difficulty should not receive nitrous oxide for dental treatment.