Nitrous Oxide Explained by Dr. Joanna Reece
Our Dentistry in Focus Article for September 2014 is on Nitrous Oxide and is by Dr. Joanna Reece. Nitrous Oxide is available at our Dental Innovations on Condon practice and is adimistrated by Dr. Reece in the Purple Surgery.
What is Nitrous Oxide Sedation?
Nitrous Oxide (N2O) sedation is a form of sedation where the patient remains conscious during dental treatment. It uses two gases, nitrous oxide and oxygen – which the patient breathes in through a mask fitted over their nose.
Who Is Nitrous Oxide Sedation Good For?
N2O sedation is good for nervous dental patients and children. It is a safe and effective way to decrease anxiety during dental treatment.
How does it work?
Sensitivity to N2O varies between people, so the dentist controls the dosage during treatment according to the individual’s requirement. After the treatment, the patient breathes pure oxygen to ensure no lingering effects.
What does Nitrous Oxide Sedation feel like?
The sensation of having N2O or ‘laughing gas’ varies from person to person but there is often an initial feeling of warmth and a tingling in the hands and feet. It produces a relaxed, ‘dreamy’ feeling.
Will I still need an injection?
Although N2O sedation does produce some numbness an anaesthetic injection is still normally required.
Is Nitrous Oxide Safe?
N2O is possibly the safest sedative there is. It has been used for over a hundred years. It is non-allergenic. Patients remain fully conscious throughout the treatment. There are no known side effects. However, it is recommended that patients do not drive immediately after N2O sedation.
N2O sedation is not available for patients who are pregnant, patients with breathing difficulties or patients recovering from ear/eye surgery.
What should I do before treatment?
- Avoid heavy meals or milk drinks prior to your appointment – sometimes the woozy feeling N2O sedation produces can make patients nauseous.
- Tell your dentist if you have a respiratory condition as that may limit the effectiveness of sedation.
- Tell your dentist if your taking any medications.
What should I do after treatment?
Due to the potential effects of the N2O patients are required to not operate heavy machinery (including driving) for at least 24hours after treatment. Also it is recommended not to sign any legal documents for the same time period.
About the Author
Dr. Joanna Reece is the most recent dentist to join Robertson Dental Innovations having started with us in March 2014. Dr. Reece is British trained and has previously work in the UK, Australia and Spain. She has moved to Bendigo with her husband, Gordon Reece (a writer/illustrator) and their dog Jock.