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So, if nitrous oxide wears off so swiftly, why is it not a better method for sedating a patient that has to undergo dental surgery? You would think that something that allows patients to return to a normal state within minutes of the completion of a procedure would be a much preferable way to sedate patients. While this may be true in some instances, there are pros and cons to both methods of sedation.
Nitrous oxide, sometimes known as laughing gas, is a gas that you inhale throughout the procedure in small quantities. Usually, the patient will wear a mask, and through this mask will flow two different kinds of gases; nitrous oxide, and oxygen. These two gases will cause the patient to feel more at ease during the procedure.
A few of the upsides of nitrous oxide include:
- Retaining the ability to move and react during a procedure. You?re more at ease, but you can still move.
- Nitrous oxide wears off quickly. In most cases, you will be good as new after only a few minutes, five or ten, after the flow of nitrous oxide is cut off.
- The gas is mild and non-addictive.
- The gas doesn?t limit consciousness.
The downsides are:
- While the gas may relax you, it can?t do much to stop you from suffering from any anxiety that you may usually have concerning dental work
- It has some associated health issues in large quantities. These quantities aren?t likely to have an impact on the patient, but rather on the dentist utilizing nitrous oxide.
IV sedation is exactly what it sounds like; your dentist will sedate you with the use of a sedative delivered intravenously. This sedative will put you in a ?twilight sleep?, or it may put you to sleep altogether. In doing this, you will be likely to have little, if any, memory of the procedure.
A few positives of IV sedation include:
- Better for those with dental anxiety. You will barely know what?s going on when you?re under IV sedation, and this means that you won?t be likely to be anxious.
- A loss of sense of time. This is especially useful for those who are undergoing procedures that will take a long time to complete.
- The dulling of most sensations. You will be less likely to feel as much pain.
The downsides are:
- IV sedation will alter your mental state and acuity for a while. You will not be able to drive yourself home after you procedure, for example.
- Due to this, you will need an escort, which can be difficult for some to find.
Which is better for you is something that you will need to discuss with your dentist. If you have a lot of anxiety concerning dental work, it may be better for you to look into IV sedation. Otherwise, you may be just fine with the nitrous oxide.