How Is Nitrous Oxide Used in Dentistry?

How Is Nitrous Oxide Used in Dentistry?

Suppose you are fearful of the dentist and avoiding necessary dental treatments because of dental anxiety. In such cases, you should have a discussion with your dentist about methods to overcome your dental phobia. Dentists will be happy to offer you nitrous oxide as an effective sedative mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over your nose.

Nitrous oxide is also referred to as laughing gas and is an option your dentist may offer you to make you more comfortable during specific procedures. Nitrous oxide will not let you sleep but will make you euphoric. You will be able to hear and respond to any requests or directions the dentist may provide.

How Is Nitrous Oxide Administered?

There are two types of delivery systems for nitrous oxide and oxygen. The first is a delivery system on which portable tanks on yoke stands between are wheeled between the patient undergoing the procedure. The second is larger fixed tank systems that are connected to multiple systems to serve several patients at the same time. The delivery systems for nitrous oxide are usually limited to 30% oxygen delivery and 70% nitrous oxide. It helps to ensure the patient receives at least 9% more oxygen than is found in ambient room temperature.

There are inherent safety margins when administering nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation. There are also 12 delivery systems developed with audio and visual safety features to prevent adverse effects during the administration of nitrous oxide. Practitioners must be aware of how they can maintain these features and must immediately remove the patient’s face mask to allow him or her to breathe room air when any of the safety features appear compromised.

What Precisely Is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide is a sweet-smelling inorganic gas that is colorless and odorless that was initially used in dental and surgical anesthesia in the mid-1800s. Presently the combination of inhaled nitrous oxide and oxygen, when used appropriately by dentists, is a safe and effective method of managing pain and anxiety in dentistry. It has several names besides laughing as and is also known as conscious sedation, relative analgesia, and nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation. Throughout the world, inhaled nitrous oxide-oxygen is the most used gaseous anesthetic. Surveys conducted by the ADA determined that approximately 70% of dental practices were using some form of sedation by employing nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation.

What Are the Best Practices for Nitrous Oxide Oxygen Sedation?

Dentists must adopt appropriate work practices and follow recommendations from the Council of scientific affairs for help when using nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation within their practices. The CSA has developed specific recommendations specifically for the use of nitrous oxide sedation in dentistry. They are:

Every delivery system for nitrous oxide must be equipped with a scavenging system and a measuring device that is easily visible for ensuring accuracy. The system must also have a vacuum pump with a capacity of 45 L of air per minute for every workstation. The system must have masks in different sizes to ensure a proper fit for patients.

  • Before using the system for the first time in the day, dentists must inspect all components of the system, including Reservoir bags, tubings, connectors, masks, and verify the system is free from cracks or tears and replace any damaged parts.
  • The dentist can connect the mask to the tubing and turn on the vacuum pump after all the components have passed the inspection. The dental professional must ensure the flow rate is appropriate according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • The mask should fit the patient appropriately, and the dentist must verify that the reservoir bag does not over or under inflate when the patient is breathing oxygen before administering nitrous oxide.
  • The patient must be requested not to talk and breathe through the nose during the administration of nitrous oxide.
  • After the procedure is over, 100% oxygen must be administered to the patient for five minutes before the mask is removed. This will eliminate any residue nitrous oxide from the system and will help the patient to clear the drug from his or her body.

Nitrous oxide is used in dentistry to relax patients that are anxious about dental procedures even when undergoing minor processes. It helps the patient become euphoric and undergo the necessary treatment before it aggravates into a severe condition.

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