We understand that there is some anxiety around a visit the dentist - know that you are not alone! A fear of the dentist is surprisingly very common. Here at Sunny Coast Dental, we treat many anxious and phobic patients and we are confident we can help you get the dental treatment you need. We offer nitrous oxide (happy gas) to help you feel relaxed and as comfortable as possible during your dental appointment.
If you’re delaying your regular dental check-ups or vital dental treatment because of fear, happy gas might be an option for you. Give us a call today to talk to us about happy gas dentistry.
Nitrous oxide (N2O), more commonly referred to as laughing gas, is a mild sedative agent that safely and effectively manages pain and anxiety during dental treatment. The colourless and odourless nitrous oxide is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over your nose. Patients are asked to breathe normally and should feel the effects of the laughing gas within minutes.
Contrary to its name, laughing gas does not necessarily make you laugh. The nitrous oxide slows down your nervous system to make you feel less inhibited. You may feel light-headed, tingly, or even heaviness in your arms or legs. Ultimately, you should be calm and comfortable throughout the procedure. You might even giggle a time or two.
Dentists choose nitrous oxide because it is a safe and effective method of sedation. Laughing gas works quickly to relax patients, and the effects wear off quickly by breathing pure oxygen through a mask. Nitrous oxide does not put you to sleep, so you can hear and respond to any of the dentist's questions or instructions.
Most patients do not experience adverse reactions to laughing gas. However, they can occur if the nitrous oxide levels rise too high or if the amount being inhaled quickly changes. Side effects, include:
After the nitrous oxide is turned off, patients need to receive oxygen for at least five minutes to avoid headaches. The oxygen purges the remaining gas from the lungs while helping the patient become more alert and awake. Patients can also help prevent nausea or vomiting by eating lightly before the procedure and avoiding a big meal for up to three hours afterward.
The use of nitrous oxide for these indications:
Is nitrous oxide equally safe for children? The AAPD states that laughing gas is considered generally acceptable to children and can be tolerated easily. Many children show enthusiasm for using the gas and report feeling a tingling or warming sensation. The laughing gas can help expedite procedures that are not particularly uncomfortable but require the child not to move for extended periods. However, some children may experience nausea or have difficulty wearing the mask. Discuss options for sedation with your child's dentist when planning dental treatment.
While nitrous oxide is considered a safe and effective sedative, it might not be the right choice for you. The AAPD lists several risk factors for using laughing gas. Tell your dentist if you have any of the following conditions:
Laughing gas can be a useful tool for easing anxiety and pain during dental procedures. If you think you might benefit from using nitrous oxide for your next appointment or operation, talk to your dentist about available options.