Nitrous oxide inhalation sedation, sometimes called laughing gas, happy gas, relative analgesia, RA and many more is a technique using a combination of nitrous oxide (N2O) and oxygen (O2) and is considered an ideal clinical sedative for anxious and nervous patients.
What is Nitrous oxide and what does it do?
Nitrous oxide is a gas that you breathe in. It has no color, no smell and is not irritating to sensitive people. It has been used safely in dentistry and medicine for a long time, first pioneered in 1772.
Nitrous oxide reduces pain (where the term relative analgesia comes in) and produces a pleasurable feeling. Immediately on administration there is no noticeable effect, however after about three to five minutes of easy breathing, the patient should feel a growing euphoric feeling. Some people experience a pleasant tingling in their fingers and toes and some have some auditory or visual effects. It is possible to feel a bit light headed and some get the giggles hence the name laughing gas.
How is nitrous oxide administered?
Nitrous oxide is administered by flowing the desired N20 – O2 mixture through a nasal mask via a double tube system. One tube is for flow of the gases into the mask to breathe in, the second is a scavenger to suck the waste gas away.
What are the advantages of nitrous oxide?
Nitrous oxide works very rapidly – it reaches the brain within 20 seconds, and relaxation and pain-killing properties develop after three to five minutes.
The depth of sedation can be altered very quickly. It can also be switched off when not needed and then switched on again if needed.
There’s no “hangover” effect as the gas is eliminated from the body within three to five minutes after the administration is stopped. Patients can return to normal activities immediately. Through titration, the dentist has absolute control over the action of the nitrous oxide.
Music and TV are also options for relaxation during your visit
Sit back and listen to some relaxing music, or catch up on some television while we work on your teeth.