Ranging from mild to moderate sedation, nitrous oxide puts you at ease for a dental procedure. You’ll be awake and conscious for the entire procedure, able to respond to questions and directions, but will feel very relaxed. The purpose of sedation, other than relieving anxiety that may be associated with a procedure, is to keep you from moving suddenly and causing a mishap during a procedure.
Commonly known as “laughing gas,” Nitrous Oxide (N2O) is a sedative gas that calms a patient and puts them at ease. It is commonly used at the dentist in order to reduce your anxiety about being in the hot seat without making you unconscious. By keeping you conscious, we are able to ask questions or give directions while we examine and work in your mouth.
Nitrous oxide is provided through a hose with a small mask that fits over your nose. You will breathe normally through your nose and within a few minutes of receiving the nitrous oxide combined with oxygen, you may start to feel a bit light-headed or feel as though your limbs are very heavy. This is perfectly normal, and your normal state of sensation and coherence will return shortly after the mask is removed.
Nitrous oxide is very safe and even after having a procedure done where the gas is used, you can drive yourself home without any issue. The gas is only used to sedate you and create a feeling of relaxation; we will use a local anesthetic to work on teeth or gums without causing pain or discomfort during the procedure. Local anesthetics will not impact your coherence or ability to drive home after a procedure.