If you are having a major dental procedure done that requires sedation, your dentist may offer you nitrous oxide as a sedation method. Even though using nitrous oxide will keep you awake throughout the procedure, there is no reason to be worried. This form of sedation is effective and safe for dental procedures.
How Nitrous Oxide Is Administered
Many patients like nitrous oxide because it is easy to administer by not requiring any type of injection. You will wear a plastic mask that allows you to breathe in a controlled amount of nitrous oxide. Your anesthesiologist will set the appropriate mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide that you breathe in.
Some patients prefer to use headphones while using nitrous oxide, as listening to music helps calm them down. When the surgery is finally over, the mask is removed, and the sedation wears off once you start breathing in oxygen. The lingering effects of using nitrous oxide will wear off within minutes.
How It Feels To Use Nitrous Oxide
It is normal to feel different sensations throughout your mind and body while using nitrous oxide. It's common to feel a tingling sensation throughout your body, or even small vibration. Your body will be possibly be encompassed with a warm flush. Some patients experience euphoria, or the feeling as if they are floating.
All these effects are what will calm you down during the actual procedure. Even though you will hear, see, and think while under the influence of nitrous oxide, you will not feel pain.
It is possible to be over-sedated from nitrous oxide. Some signs is the inability to open your eyes, barely being able to speak, or ear throbbing. If you experience any of these symptoms, your anesthesiologist can adjust the balance of oxygen and nitrous oxide.
The Potential Side Effects
Using anesthesia always comes with risks, and nitrous oxide may have some side effects you should be aware of.
Nausea is very common in patients while under sedation, but it is easy to adjust mid-procedure. It can eventually lead to vomiting, which could put you at risk of choking. Thankfully, suction equipment is on hand to decrease the chance of this happening.
Some patients report not having a memory of the procedure afterwards. While this could be a positive side effect for some people, others do not like the feeling of losing control.
It is also possible that nitrous oxide if not effective for you, which means another form of sedation will need to be used. This could be due to your body's reaction to the gas, or if you have breathing problems that are not letting you inhale the gas effectively through your nose.
Now that you are aware of what it's like to use nitrous oxide, you'll be prepared for using it during your dental procedure.