Nitrous oxide (N2O) is the most commonly used inhalation anesthetic in dentistry and is commonly used in emergency centers and ambulatory surgery centers as well. When used alone, it is incapable of producing general anesthesia reliably. However, as a single agent, it has an impressive safety and is excellent for providing minimal and moderate sedation for apprehensive minor oral surgical procedure. In this article, action of N2O in overcoming the anxiety and pain of the patient during the minor oral surgery and its advantages and disadvantages, have been reviewed.
The gas is a sweet smelling, non irritating, colorless gas which you breathe through a nosepiece.
Safe and effective, nitrous oxide has been the primary means of conscious sedation in dentistry for over 75 years.
Benefits of Nitrous Oxide
- Patients are able to breathe on their own
- Patients remain awake
- Patients may experience mild amnesia and may feel sleepy not remembering all of what happened during their appointment
Advantages to Using Nitrous Oxide:
- The depth of sedation can be altered at any time
- There is no after effect such as a “hangover”
- Inhalation sedation is safe with little to no side effects
- Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging
- It works rapidly as it reaches the brain within 20 seconds. In as few as 2-3 minutes its relaxation and sedative properties develop