Why Don’t Dentists use Nitrous Oxide Anymore ?

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Larry Fisher is . Chicago Dentist

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    Do Dentists still use Nitrous Oxide, aka “laughing gas”?

    That is a question asked by a lot of dental patients these days, and Chicago dentist Larry Fisher does indeed provide Nitrous Oxide as an option for his patients.

    This is one more reason Larry is considered to be the best dentist in Chicago and a laughing gas Dentist!

    Today in 2022, most dentists still use nitrous oxide during procedures to make patients more comfortable and help them relax so they don’t feel any pain or anxiety.

     

    What is Nitrous Oxide?

    Nitrous oxide is a colorless, non-toxic gas that can be used as an anesthetic for dental procedures.

     

    Nitrous oxide is a natural gas that has been used for medical purposes for over 150 years. It was first discovered in the 1800s by a British scientist, Michael Faraday. He published his discovery in 1844 and called the gas “laughing gas” because when it was inhaled it made people laugh.

     

    The use of nitrous oxide as a dental anesthetic began in 1865 when a dentist named Horace Wells demonstrated its use to his colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

     

    How Nitrous Oxide Works

    Nitrous oxide is a gas that produces effects similar to those of alcohol. It’s also known as laughing gas, nitrous, and whippets.

     

    Nitrous oxide is a type of N2O gas that has been used for many years as an anesthetic and analgesic. Nitrous oxide can be administered through a mask placed over the nose, or it can be inhaled directly from the cylinder or tank.

     

    The effects of nitrous oxide are caused by its ability to act as an NMDA receptor antagonist in the brain, which means that it blocks a type of glutamate receptor called NMDA in the brain. The blocking of this receptor leads to decreased activity on this pathway and reduced perception of pain.

     

    This leads to feelings of euphoria and calmness, along with decreased anxiety levels.

    Are There Any Negative Effects of Nitrous Oxide?

    A patient sedated by a nitrous oxide or laughing gas is still capable of responding to a question or request.

     

    While most people do not experience any negative side effects of nitrous oxide, a small number of people do.

     

    This may occur when the level of nitrous is too high in the gas mixture or from a sudden change in the amount of nitrous oxide inhaled.

     

    Negative side effects may include nausea or vomiting, headache, increased sleepiness, and/or excessive sweating or shivering. Headaches can result if a patient does not receive oxygen for at least five minutes after the nitrous oxide has been turned off.

     

    The oxygen helps to flush any remaining gas from the lungs and return the patient to a fully awake and alert state. Patients who experience any discomfort while receiving nitrous oxide should inform the dentist immediately.

     

    It is advised to keep meals light before dental appointments in which nitrous oxide will be used to reduce the risk of nausea and vomiting. Patients may also be advised to avoid heavy meals for three hours after the appointment.

     

    Additionally, some studies have shown that motor skills and attention may be affected for 15 minutes after the use of nitrous oxide. Patients should ask their dentist when it is safe to drive after receiving nitrous oxide.

     

    Why Some Dentists Don’t Use Nitrous Oxide Anymore

    Nitrous oxide is used a little differently than other sedatives. It’s not used to put patients to sleep; instead, it’s used to relieve anxiety and make them more comfortable during their procedure.

     

    Nitrous oxide also helps with pain because it blocks the pain receptors in the mouth and throat.

    It’s a safe procedure, but dentists don’t use it as much anymore because of its potential side effects like nausea and vomiting which are common with nitrous oxide use.

    OTHER RELATED QUESTIONS PATIENTS HAVE:

    Is laughing gas safe for the dental patient?

    The gas typically produces pleasant sensations that can help a patient relax. Because it is well-tolerated, has a rapid onset, is reversible, can be adjusted in various concentrations, and is non-allergenic, nitrous oxide/oxygen is considered a safe sedative in dentistry.

    How long does laughing gas last?

    Laughing gas is a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. It is inhaled from a balloon or tank and lasts for about 10 minutes.

    How does the Nitrous Oxide process work for patients? Does gas last?

    About five minutes before beginning the procedure, the dentist will apply a face mask to administer the inhaled gas. You’ll start feeling relaxed within a matter of minutes.

    Once the dental procedure is completed, the dentist will turn off the gas. You may continue to receive oxygen for a few minutes, which will help you regain alertness faster.

     

    Generally, it only takes a few minutes to shake off the effects of the gas. However, for safety’s sake, the office staff of Larry Fisher may ask you to remain for about 15 minutes to ensure that you’re fully alert before driving.


    Conclusion

    Laughter is the best medicine, and that’s why nitrous oxide and laughing gas are so popular among patients.

     

    However, like any medicine, nitrous oxide and laughing gas have potential risks that need to be taken into account.

     

    Always use nitrous oxide or laughing gas under the supervision of a trained professional. When administered by a professional, nitrous oxide and laughing gas are considered safe and effective.

     

    Did you know that nitrous oxide and laughing gas are both used to anesthetize dentists during dental procedures? 

    Dentists use nitrous oxide in a procedure known as sedation dentistry more than any other type of anesthesia. 

     

    Sedation dentistry is used to relieve anxiety or fears before dental procedures and is one of the most common uses for nitrous oxide.

     

    Chicago dentist Larry Fisher will be answering all of these dental questions in a new Dental FAQ section. 

     

    If you have a dental question, feel free to email us and we will be happy to answer it.

     

    if you want to explore the possibilities of using laughing gas or have any questions about nitrous oxide and sedation, contact Chicago dentist Larry Fisher for an appointment today.

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