N - Nitrous Oxide (A to Z Challenge April 2014)
Nitrous Oxide is a non-allergenic, non-irritating gas that affects the central nervous system. It's one of the safest forms of sedation available and patients who have used it report very few, if any, side effects. The nitrous oxide takes effect within 3-5 minutes. Following treatment the effects of this gas are completely reversed within 3-5 minutes, simply by breathing normally.
- Nitrous Oxide can make you feel more comfortable during your appointment. You remain conscious and are fully aware during treatment.
- The depth of sedation can be varied throughout your treatment as required.
- Your gag reflex and flow of saliva are somewhat decreased.
- Nitrous Oxide can reduce the discomfort or anxiety associated with an injection of local anesthesia; in some cases (particularly with small children) it takes the place of an injection altogether.
- Most importantly, it helps to eliminate fear and reduces anxiety by helping you relax.
Who can have Nitrous Oxide?
Patients ranging from the very young to the elderly have been safely treated with nitrous oxide and oxygen sedation. There are practically no side effects associated with nitrous oxide use.
Who is not a good candidate for nitrous oxide and oxygen sedation?
Women in their first trimester of pregnancy are not good candidates for nitrous oxide and oxygen sedation. Patients with emphysema or those who have recently undergone ear surgery should also avoid nitrous. Occasionally, however, asthmatic patients or those suffering from severe bronchitis or other known lung disorders may elect not to use it.
How does Nitrous Oxide make you feel?
- tingling of your hands and feet
- numbness in your legs
- numbness of your hands, feet, tongue and other soft tissues of your mouth
- a ringing sensation or droning sound; your hearing may become distant but more distinct
- feelings of euphoria
- feelings of heaviness or lightness in your extremities
You should not experience giddiness, fall asleep, or become nauseous. If any of these symptoms occur while breathing nitrous oxide, immediately inform the doctor.
While rare, side effects have been linked to the use of nitrous oxide and oxygen sedation. These most often include nausea and vomiting, and result because too much nitrous oxide has been used. Several studies confirm the lack of side effects for children-- fewer than 1 percent were reported, and most were symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Side effects are quickly reversed with the elimination of nitrous and the addition of pure oxygen gas.
Nitrous Oxide is a safe, reversible adjunct to help you relax during treatment. You remain conscious and "in control" throughout the procedure. Simply relax and breathe deeply through your nose. It's just that easy.