Many people put off dental work because they worry that the procedure will hurt. Oral surgeons use laughing gas to counteract this anxiety and provide more comfortable treatments. Oral Surgery Associates of Alaska in Anchorage has been utilizing this low-grade anesthesia to keep their patients relaxed for many years. Here, their team explains how this effective gas works, so you know what you can expect.
An Oral Surgeon’s Guide to Laughing Gas
How Laughing Gas Works
Nitrous oxide (N2O), commonly referred to as laughing gas, is a sedation dentistry tool used in some oral procedures. The gas produces a combination of effects in the brain that alleviate pain and anxiety. The brain is full neurons that attach to receptors and tell your body how to feel. Laughing gas blocks the neurons that trigger pain, so procedures like dental implants and teeth extractions are more comfortable.
Further, nitrous oxide increases the activity of brain chemicals that reduce anxiety, so you feel more relaxed during the procedure. Finally, laughing gas triggers the release of dopamine, which will also decrease the apprehension you feel about dental surgery.
To administer the anesthetic, the dentist will place a breathing mask over your face that produces a mixture of 30% nitrous oxide and 70% oxygen. You will feel the relaxing effects after only a few moments. Once the procedure is complete, you’ll breathe pure oxygen from the mask for a couple of minutes while the laughing gas fully exits your system.
Side Effects of Laughing Gas
Although adverse side effects are rare, some patients experience minor discomfort, especially if too much gas was used. Occasionally, people report headaches, sweating, shivering, vomiting, and excessive tiredness after undergoing oral surgery.
Nitrous oxide is considered safe for children. Many dentists prefer this simple sedation method to calm anxious young patients, so discuss this option with your child if they feel nervous about seeing an oral surgeon.
Understanding how laughing gas works and how safe it is for many dental patients will provide peace of mind during your next surgical procedure. The oral surgeons at Oral Surgery Associates of Alaska are committed to keeping patients comfortable during every treatment, so they don’t put off much-needed care. Call (907) 561-1430 to schedule an appointment, and visit their website for more information about preparing for a procedure involving anesthesia.