Decades ago, if you needed dental work performed, you had to grit through the pain and discomfort without any numbing agents or pain-mitigation techniques. Thankfully dental science has come a long way since then, and patients now have a wide variety of options that can make dental procedures nearly pain free. One such technique involves the use of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas.
Laughing gas is a sedation method used to put patients into a calm and relaxed state. Contrary to popular belief, nitrous oxide doesn’t put the patient to sleep. Patients can still respond to the dentist, answers questions and maneuver their mouth as necessary, but it puts you in a calm state of being. It can also help with pain sensations and pain tolerance.
One of the biggest reasons why laughing gas is preferred for certain dental operations is because it works quickly, often in a matter of seconds, and the effects are reversible and wear off shortly after nitrous oxide intake is stopped. It is also safe for children, and is often administered for kids who have anxiety or fears about having dental work performed.
Potential Complications and Risks
Laughing gas is very safe, which is why it is a preferred sedation method for both children and adults. However, a small amount of individuals may experience some minor side effects, including:
In order to experience the best results and lower your risk of suffering a complication, you’ll want to talk with your dentist about your eating plan prior to receiving the gas. In most cases, you’ll want to eat only light meals or snacks in the hours leading up to your procedure, and you’ll want to avoid big meals for a couple hours after the completion of the operation. To be on the safe side, ask your doctor for specific eating and drinking instructions if you’ll be receiving nitrous oxide.
Finally, even though it is a safe technique, laughing gas may not be right for everybody. If you are pregnant, have COPD, or have certain genetic conditions, laughing gas may not be right for your situation. This is why it is important to talk with your dentist about your health history and your family’s medical history before an operation.
If you want to learn more about laughing gas, or to see if it is available for your upcoming operation, reach out to Dr. Brooks’ office today.