Nitrous Oxide: Feeling Groovy at the Dental Office

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In 1772, just a four years before the signers of the Declaration of Independence were officially breaking from England, a man by the name of Joseph Priestly discovered nitrous oxide, or laughing gas as it is more commonly known. The dental world would never be the same. Nitrous oxide is arguably the safest and most-trusted type of dental sedation ever discovered.

Although it took some time and experimentation for doctors, who were also the dentists of that time period, to begin using it for medical purposes, once they did, around the mid-1800s, they never looked back. Ether was the commonly used anesthetic of the age and as a liquid, it was much easier to prepare and transport than the gaseous nitrous oxide–which had to be inhaled.

As an inhalant, the odorless and colorless gas relaxes and numbs, producing a pleasant euphoric feeling. It is powerfully effective in making anxious patients calm. Used alongside a local anesthetic nitrous oxide helps to relieve all discomfort during a dental procedure.

Because it has been around and in use for such a long time, its safety is a positive feature for dentists who use it. Laughing gas works quickly in the human system, and is also quickly dispersed with the administration of oxygen. There are few, if any, side-effects for the majority of patients that have tried it.

If you’d like more information about dental anesthesia, feel free to call Drs. Burger, Whitt, and Speck and our team at Brandon Burger, DDS. You can make an appointment at: 615-889-8202, or come by our office in Hermitage, Tennessee.