ANAESTHESIA WITH NITROUS OXIDE
Nitrous oxide, also commonly known as laughing gas, was one of the first substances used in medicine and dentistry to relieve pain during procedures and operations. The unique properties of this gas were discovered in the first half of the 19th century by an American dentist Horace Wells. Many years have passed since then and nitrous oxide is still successfully used in dental surgeries. We also offer this form of anaesthesia to our patients. Visit us and see for yourself that dental treatment does not have to be associated with pain and discomfort!
WHAT IS INHALATION SEDATION?
The main component of the anaesthetic mixture administered to Patients during dental procedures is nitrous oxide. Although this gas when used alone has little anaesthetic effect, it is an excellent carrier of other anaesthetic substances. Nitrous oxide is also known as laughing gas due to its relaxing, pain-relieving and euphoric effects.
Inhalation sedation is particularly recommended for patients suffering from dentophobia, dental treatment of children and those who, due to health conditions, cannot benefit from other methods of pain relief during dental procedures.
WHAT DISTINGUISHES ANAESTHESIA WITH THE USE OF LAUGHING GAS?
Nitrous oxide does not cause any disturbances in the heart rhythm, therefore it can be used even in patients with heart diseases. Laughing gas also does not have a muscle relaxant effect, so it does not impair the functioning of respiratory muscles. Asthmatics can also benefit from inhalation sedation because nitrous oxide does not irritate the tracheal and bronchial mucosa. Moreover, the inhalation sedation agent does not accumulate in the patient’s body – it is fully excreted from the body 5-10 minutes after the end of the procedure.
HOW DOES NITROUS OXIDE ANAESTHESIA WORK?
During inhalation sedation a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide is administered to the Patient by inhalation. A special apparatus for inhalation sedation doses specific proportions of the gas mixture. The patient wears a special mask over his/her nose and mouth through which the anaesthetic is released. For the sedation to work properly, the mask must be adjusted to the patient’s facial anatomy. The laughing gas reaches the lungs, penetrates the bloodstream and is then transported to the brain. During nitrous oxide sedation the Patient retains consciousness and all reflexes. Almost immediately after the procedure the Patient can return to his or her daily activities – full fitness returns after about 30 minutes.
INDICATIONS FOR NITROUS OXIDE ANAESTHESIA
Inhalation sedation is most commonly used for diagnostic procedures that may cause discomfort to the Patient and for procedures that may be accompanied by low intensity pain. Nitrous oxide anaesthesia works very well, for example, when a small patient has a baby tooth removed. Other indications for inhalation sedation are:
- fear of injections,
- The presence of a strong vomiting reflex in the Patient,
- Treatment of early stages of caries
- hyperactivity of the Patient,
- opening a tooth affected by pulp decay,
- removal of tartar.
CONTRAINDICATIONS TO INHALATION SEDATION
Nitrous oxide anaesthesia is a very safe method; nevertheless, there are some contraindications which prevent its use. These include acute sinusitis, porphyria, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis, bronchial dilatation or emphysema. Inhalation sedation should also not be used for pregnant women, people with mental health problems or alcohol addiction.