Nitrous Sedation (laughing gas) is a wonderful tool to help those people who find in office dental treatments stressful or overwhelming. Nitrous sedation is not used to place patients asleep, but rather is used as a relaxant allowing patients to receive their dental treatment while learning how easy dental care can be.
When patients receive nitrous sedation, a tube is placed over the patient’s nose, the gas is breathed and in a few minutes patients feel calm. This allows them to listen to the dental team and learn. Soon they are able to understand what happens during a dental appointment and feel comfortable with their treatment. Often, after a few visits, patients feel confident and find that they no longer need the support of nitrous sedation. At the conclusion of treatment, the nitrous gas is reversed and patients are dismissed once they are fully cognitive. Nitrous gas is easily reversed and patients are able to drive themselves home safely, as there are no lingering effects (as would be the case if they were taking oral medication to relax).
One of the most frequent applications of nitrous gas is for young children. Children often have great fears about the unknown and sometimes their anxieties can consume them and prevent them from cooperating during dental treatment. Laughing gas allows them to relax, listen and learn. At the conclusion of the appointment patients breath 100% oxygen for five minutes returning them to their cognitive state that they arrived at the beginning of the appointment. As with adults, we find that over a number of appointments children become more confident and ultimately will no longer require nitrous sedation to complete their dental treatment.