We use dental nitrous oxide sedation at our Country Dental clinics in Cambridge, Toronto and Fergus ON.
Our dentists feel there are many advantages of using laughing gas (which is just another name for nitrous oxide). It is used by dentists to sedate patients during some dental procedures. Dental nitrous oxide has no smell and no color, and is also a relatively safe sedation method that, when used properly, doesn’t irritate the patient.
Our Ontario dentists utilize dental laughing gas because dentistry should not be painful. Relax in our massaging chair, watch a show on our overhead television and forget you are even at the dentist. Nitrous oxide may be fully covered by your dental insurance company, and with direct insurance billing, you will only be out of pocket for charges beyond your policy.
What to Expect with Dental Nitrous Oxide
Administering dental nitrous oxide, which takes only about five minutes, consists of having the patient breathe in the laughing gas until they are properly sedated; the patient remains awake and generally feels quite happy.
Some patients describe the sensation of taking laughing gas as a “happy drunk feeling.” There are also some cases where some patients claim they experience some visual and auditory affects. Quite often, dental patients who are sedated this way seem to get the giggles and claim they are at their best dental appointment ever!
Is Laughing Gas Safe…Yes!
Nitrous oxide lacks oxygen so it can only be used for a short period of time if used on its own. However, the dental laughing gas we use in our Cambridge dental clinic is a mixture of 30% nitrous oxide and 70% oxygen. This allows us to safely administer laughing gas for longer periods of time, long enough for us to complete the necessary dental work.
Levels of Sedation
There are four levels of dental nitrous oxide sedation that patients can experience when a dentist administers laughing gas. At Country Dental, only the first 3 levels are acceptable, and our Cambridge dentists are highly experienced at administering this sedation safely.
The four levels of sedation will depend on two things:
- The concentration of nitrous oxide used
- And the length of time the laughing gas is administered
Level 1 – While administering dental nitrous oxide, the first level that the dental patient will experience involves a tingling sensation in the legs and arms. The patient will feel vibrations in his or her extremities.
Level 2 – The second level of sedation is where the patient feels warm sensations throughout the body.
Level 3 – (This is the maximum level our dentists with allow.) During the third level of dental nitrous oxide sedation the patient will experience the feeling of floating and extreme happiness. If at any time you feel any unpleasant symptoms from inhaling laughing gas, it is best to tell your dentist right away so they can stop the sedation process or adjust the amount of sedation being administered. We make every effort to ensure our patients stay within the first three levels.
Level 4 – At Country Dental we avoid taking our patients to this fourth and final level of sedation. At this level the nitrous oxide concentration is too high – this is where the patient feels sleepy and may not be able to keep his or her eyes open. Sometimes during this heavy sedation, the patient may hear a constant buzzing sound and experience nausea. These are common side effects as a result of over sedation.
Administering the Sedation
To administer the sedation, your dentist will work with compressed nitrous oxide gas and oxygen, and utilize a tool that delivers both gases to the patient in the proper proportions. Pressure gauges and flow meters allow the dentist to monitor the proper flow of the gases.
The laughing gas mixture is then fed to a tube where a “cannula” or nasal hood is attached. The cannula is then placed over the patient’s nose. All the patient has to do is breathe normally. Dental masks may also come in different scents such as mint, vanilla, and strawberry to enhance the patient’s experience.
Advantages of Laughing Gas
Dental nitrous oxide works fast. The patient can feel the effects of laughing gas usually within 20 seconds. The painkilling and relaxation properties of laughing gas will generally kick in after just two to three minutes.
Another advantage of laughing gas is that the level of sedation can be adjusted at any time during the dental procedure. The person in charge of administering the laughing gas can decrease or increase the level at any time. This option is unique to laughing gas and is not possible with other types of sedation techniques.
Other types of sedation have fixed durations because the drugs have a specific timeframe. But with dental nitrous oxide, the laughing gas can be switched off when not needed and turned on again later in the treatment session. This offers the dentist much more flexibility and control over other sedation options.
Generally, laughing gas must be gradually increased during each succeeding visit to our Cambridge dental clinic because the patient’s tolerance can vary from day to day.
Ask Us about Using Dental Nitrous Oxide
It is still not known why dental nitrous oxide does what it does. When properly administered by qualified dentists, laughing gas has been used successfully to suppress the patient’s physical sensations such as touch, hearing, and pain. You can read more about the Standard of Practice on the Use of Dental Sedation from the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario.
Laughing gas also tends to disinhibit some patient’s emotional sensations. The patient’s memory, ability to concentrate, or the ability to perform certain acts can be impaired while under the influence of the laughing gas.
If you are looking for a Southern Ontario dental clinic that uses laughing gas then make an appointment with our dentists at Country Dental. We offer a wide range of preventative and restorative dental services to our clients.
We are a 24/7, family friendly dental clinic capable of handling dental emergencies.
Contact our Cambridge dentists today to book a dental appointment, or call the clinic nearest you.
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