Sedation during dental procedures can be a great way to ease anxiety & keep you from feeling discomfort. For most patients, sedation dentistry using nitrous oxide is a safe, effective method.

Is Nitrous Oxide Right for You?

Nitrous oxide sedation is delivered via a mask & mixed with oxygen. Depending on the amount delivered, the patient can remain consciously sedated.
Nitrous oxide has a recorded medical history of safe use, but it’s always best to talk with your dentist & go over your medical history to determine if it’s the right choice for you. In particular, patients who have vitamin B12 deficiencies should let their dentist know of any pre-existing conditions as nitrous oxide can in rare cases cause serious side effects with metabolizing B12.

Your Safety Is the Top Priority

Your dentist & any of their team that administers nitrous oxide is trained to administer it safely. In addition, there are many fail-safes on the machine itself that prevent too much of the gas from being inhaled.
Training in this form of sedation is a course in addition to regular training for dental care providers. They may learn about nitrous oxide use through their regular coursework, but certification courses are also available for this specialty service.
Nitrous oxide is generally safe for use & is coupled with a steady stream of oxygen to ensure the patient is able to breathe properly. If the oxygen mixture falls below a certain level, the machine automatically shuts off & allows for normal airflow to resume.
Your dentist will be able to explain all the safety features & practices they follow to ensure proper administration & the amount administered will vary depending on the patient & the type of treatment needed.

Designate a Driver

While nitrous oxide wears off fairly quickly, it can cause residual effects that can impair driving back home. While temporary, this kind of brain fog can be hazardous to you & others if you get behind the wheel, so if you need a ride, be sure to have a friend or family member pick you up when your procedure is done. Not only can nitrous oxide take a short while to wear off, your body may be groggy from other drugs administered & you may be exhausted from the procedure itself in some ways. So even though it’s nowhere as extreme as a night out at the bar, it’s best to play it safe & designate a driver.

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