Nitrous Oxide/Oral Sedation

Laughing Gas

Nitrous Oxide is a sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which you can breathe.

Nitrous Oxide has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. Nitrous oxide is safe, the patient receives 50-70% oxygen.

The patient is able to breathe on their own and remain in control of all bodily functions.

The patient may fall asleep, not remembering all of what happened during their appointment.

There are many advantages to using Nitrous Oxide

  • The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation.
  • There is no after effect such as a “hangover”.
  • Inhalation sedation is safe with no side effects on your heart and lungs, etc.
  • Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging.
  • It works rapidly as it reaches the brain within 20 seconds. In as little as 2-3 minutes its relaxation and pain killing properties develop.

Reasons to not use Nitrous Oxide

You should not utilize Nitrous Oxide if you have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Though there are no other major contraindications to using nitrous oxide, you may not want to use it if you have exotic chest problems, M.S., a cold or other difficulties with breathing.

You may want to ask your endodontist for a “5 minute trial” to see how you feel with this type of sedation method before proceeding.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation is also available for reducing dental anxiety.  It will not make you unconscious, however, it will typically greatly reduce your overall anxiety level.  It comes in the form of a pill, typically it is triazolam, which is similar to Valium, Xanaz, or Ativan.  It is a short acting anti-anxiety medication.  Please ask Dr. Vaughan or Dr. Noble, if it might be a suitable option for you.  Please note, that you will need an escort to and from the appointment if you choose this option, as you will not be able to drive yourself.