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Nitrous Oxide Sedation: How Safe Is It?

May 12, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — drjohnupton @ 8:38 pm
a shot of the knobs on a nitrous oxide machine

If you’re like many people, you’re a little bit nervous when it comes time to visit the dentist’s office. Whether you’ve had a bad experience in the past or have just heard some things that have turned you off of dentists, you shouldn’t let those anxieties stand in the way of getting the care you need.

Sedation dentistry, and nitrous oxide in particular, can be a great way to put patients with dental anxiety at ease. However, many people are put off of nitrous oxide by concerns about safety. If that’s you, here’s why there isn’t anything to worry about.

Is Nitrous Oxide Safe?

There are several sedatives used in dentistry, and among them, nitrous oxide is one of the most common. Part of the reason for that is that nitrous oxide is both easy for a dentist to manage and incredibly low risk.

When you’re under the influence of nitrous oxide, your dentist will be monitoring your vitals and precisely controlling the flow of the gas. All of these precautions mean that, when used in a professional context, nitrous oxide is remarkably safe.

Who is a Good Candidate for Nitrous Oxide Sedation?

Among all the sedatives used in dentistry, nitrous oxide tends to be the mildest. However, that isn’t to say that it’s weak—depending on the dosage, nitrous oxide can effectively put anxious patients completely at ease.

That said, nitrous oxide is best suited to fairly short procedures, and to patients with mild-to-moderate anxiety. Nitrous oxide is also used often to help children who are nervous at the dentist’s.

Who Should Avoid Nitrous Oxide?

That said, as safe as this sedative is, there are some patients who should still probably avoid it. Your sedation dentist will review your health records carefully to ensure that you don’t have any health conditions that make sedation a bad idea.

Patients who are pregnant, especially those in the first trimester, are usually recommended against taking sedatives of any kind. People who have a history of COPD or of other respiratory illnesses may also have trouble with inhaling the gas. Finally, too much nitrous oxide can potentially lead to a vitamin B-12 deficiency, so if you have one already you may be advised to steer clear of it.

About the Author

Dr. John Upton, Jr. has been helping members of his community smile brightly for over 35 years, and he’s proud to say that he’s been able to give people smiles that last. He’s helped thousands of patients over the years, and he has no intention of stopping any time soon. Dr. Upton received his degree from the Baylor College of Dentistry. Since then, he has received advanced education from the L.D. Pankey Institute and the Las Vegas Institute.

If you have any questions about nitrous oxide sedation, he can be reached at his website or by phone at (623) 878-6333.

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