Nitrous Oxide Sedation at Bull City Smiles
Nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas, is a mild form of sedation for both adults and children who visit the dentist and may be overly nervous or anxious about their scheduled treatments. Nitrous oxide helps to ease your fears so as to help you relax during a visit, and to receive dental treatment in a comfortable and safe manner. It is delivered through a mask over the nose and is mixed directly with oxygen and delivered as you breathe in and out regularly. You are usually asked to breath normally through the nose, and as the gas begins to take effect, you will become more relaxed and less nervous.

Nitrous oxide is 100% safe to use during treatment and is eliminated from the body quickly after the gas is turned off. You will remain awake during the entire procedure and will be able to interact and communicate with us. After the procedure is over, the nitrous oxide gas will be turned off, but typically Dr. Bolton will continue to deliver oxygen for a few minutes to ensure that all gas is flushed from the system.

Nitrous oxide is a safe, effective sedative agent used to calm you or your child’s fear of the dental visit, and actually enhances communication between you or your child and Dr. Bolton during dental procedures. Additionally, it reduces the gag reflex which can interfere with effective dental treatment. Nitrous oxide blends two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide, and is administered by a fitted mask placed over your child’s nose. Your child then breathes normally, and becomes very relaxed in a matter of minutes. Once the nitrous is stopped your child will be given oxygen for 3 to 5 minutes. There are no lingering effects.

While breathing in the nitrous oxide you will smell a faint sweet aroma and experience a sense of well-being and relaxation. Since it may produce a feeling of giddiness or euphoria, it is often called “laughing gas”. People sometimes report dreaming and their arms and legs may feel “tingly”. It raises the pain threshold and may even make the time appear to pass quickly. If you are worried by the sights, sounds, or sensations of dental treatment, you may respond more positively with the use of nitrous oxide.

Nitrous oxide is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry. It is well tolerated, has a rapid onset, is reversible, can be adjusted in various concentrations, and is non-allergenic. You remain fully conscious and keep all natural reflexes when breathing the gases. You will be capable of responding to a question or request. You should inform our office regarding any respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult for you or your child.

People are, of course, not all alike, and all of our dental services are tailored specifically to you. In a very small percentage of people, nitrous oxide may not be effective, especially those children who have severe anxiety, nasal congestion, or discomfort wearing a nasal mask. We will review your medical history, level of anxiety, and treatment needs and inform you if nitrous oxide is recommended.

If you are opposed to wearing a mask, or have a stuffy nose during the day of the visit, then nitrous oxide may not be the best option for sedation. Dr. Bolton will then be able to consult with you as to what the best alternative method may be.

Dr. Bolton has devoted her entire practice to meeting the dental needs of her patients and looks forward to making your dental visit a pleasant one!