Anxiolysis and Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Anxiolysis (Minimal Sedation) is a drug-induced state during which patients respond normally to verbal commands. Although cognitive function and physical coordination may be impaired, airway reflexes, and ventilatory and cardiovascular functions are unaffected. If after your initial consultation, which will include a thorough evaluation of your overall medical condition, it is determined that you’ll benefit from anxiolysis, you will receive medication to be taken prior to your treatment appointment. You will be required to fill out and sign an Anxiolysis Sedation Form in our office and you also MUST have someone to drive you to and from our office and stay with you at the day of your treatment.

Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas) is a sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which you can breathe. Nitrous Oxide has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. The patients are able to breathe on their own and remain in control of all bodily functions; but some patients may experience mild amnesia and may fall asleep, not remembering all of what happened during their appointment.

There are many advantages to using Nitrous Oxide

  • The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation.
  • There is no after effect such as a “hangover”.
  • Inhalation sedation is safe with no side effects on your heart and lungs, etc.
  • Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging.
  • It works rapidly as it reaches the brain within 20 seconds. In as little as 2-3 minutes its relaxation and pain killing properties develop.

Reasons to not use Nitrous Oxide

You should not utilize Nitrous Oxide if you have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Though there are no other major contraindications to using nitrous oxide, you may not want to use it if you have emphysema, exotic chest problems, M.S., a cold or other difficulties with breathing.