Dr. Bowes would like to announce that he has recently acquired the training, licensing and the equipment to provide nitrous oxide sedation (also known as laughing gas) for patients who are fearful of dental work. We are currently waiting on our final inspecti0n prior to beginning to offer this service. This has taken longer than we initially anticipated and may delay us for several more weeks.
Nitrous oxide is a colourless, mildly sweet smelling gas that is used for relaxation and anxiety relief. It can produce sensations of drowsiness, warmth and tingling of the feet, hands and lips. It will not cause you to lose consciousness. In fact you remain awake for the entire procedure, even able to respond to questions. The fear and anxiety however that you may have about dental work will be alleviated.
With nitrous oxide, once the procedure is completed, you are able to easily go about your daily tasks without restriction. This is unlike most other forms of sedation used in dentistry. IV and oral sedation typically leave the patient considered legally impaired for 24 hours and require the patient to have someone else drive them home and ideally watch after them for the rest of the day. Patients that have had nitrous oxide typically fully recover within 5 minutes after the gas use is discontinued.
Nitrous oxide is one of the safest forms of sedation. It works quickly and you can feel and adjust the dose required on the fly. Oral drugs (swallowed pills) often take over an hour to begin to work and if the first dose does not provide enough sedation a second dose cannot be given as it takes far too long to become effective. Nitrous oxide does not need to be metabolized, broken down and excreted by the body like oral or IV drugs do. It is exhaled from the body virtually unchanged and because of this, wears off extremely rapidly. As mentioned previously, typically a full recover from the drug is made within 5 minutes of discontinuing it’s use.
Nitrous Oxide is not for everyone however. Patients that have tension in air filled spaces, such as those with middle ear disease, pneumothorax, COPD, pregnant women, respiratory infections, sinus infections, obstructed bowels, recent vitreoretinal surgery, and people who cannot breathe through their nose or who are badly claustrophobic cannot have nitrous oxide sedation.
Nitrous oxide is often covered by most dental insurance providers. Should you feel you require nitrous oxide, please mention it to Dr. Bowes at your next checkup.