Nitrous oxide is a commonly used inhalation anesthetic in dentistry. It is a colorless and odorless gas with a faint sweet smell. It is widely regarded as an absolutely safe and effective method to reduce anxiety and induce numbness in patients with concerns in undergoing minor oral surgical procedures. It has an excellent safety record and allows the patient to tolerate unpleasant procedures by reducing their anxiety and pain.
Nitrous oxide gets absorbed quickly, allowing for a speedy recovery. It causes minimal impairment of any responses and protects the cough reflex.
What is the aim of using Nitrous Oxide?
The main aim of using nitrous oxide includes the following reasons:
- It uses helps eliminate or reduce anxiety in a patient.
- The patient’s threshold to bear pain will be significantly raised.
- There will be enhanced cooperation and communication between the patient and doctor.
- The effects of the sedatives will be to their maximum potential.
- Its use reduces any untoward movement and reaction to dental treatment.
- The tolerance level of a patient will be increased for longer procedures.
- It supports the treatment of physically and mentally disabled people.
- It aids a patient whose gag reflex hampers with dental care.
How is Nitrous Oxide administered?
The nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation introduces 100% oxygen given to the patient, followed by titration of nitrous oxide in 10% intervals. Then the patient is slowly allowed to breathe. A flow rate of 5-6 liters per minute is normally acceptable to most patients. The flow rate is adjusted after observation of the reservoir bag. The bag throbs gently with each breath and should be properly inflated. During the nitrous oxide analgesia, the concentration of nitrous oxide should not be more than 50%. The amount of nitrous oxide should be increased slowly to achieve the preferred effect. The patient should be requested to breathe through their nose for the gas to work. At proper intervals, the patient should be quizzed to ensure an ideal level of nitrous oxide is being administered. The appropriate level of nitrous oxide should be given to a patient; if the levels are insufficient, the anxiolytic dose will not be effective. If the levels are too high, there could be undesirable side-effects. The children saturate more quickly as compared to adults.
What are the benefits of the use of Nitrous Oxide in dental procedures?
- The gas is straightforward to administer.
- Nitrous oxide has a bland, pleasant odor and does not have an irritating effect.
- The recovery from the procedure is rapid.
- It begins to act rapidly.
- No nausea or vomiting is experienced.
- The patient does not suffer from any hangover due to the swift uptake and elimination of nitrous oxide.
- The reflex integrity is sustained.
- It is absolutely safe to use without any side-effects.
- There is no special preparation of the patient required.
- Titration is possible.
- The patient may not need an attendant while undergoing the procedure.
- Cardio-respiratory stability of the patient can be ensured.