What is Oxide Sedation?
Oxide Sedation uses a clear, odorless gas called nitrous oxide to calm and relax you. The gas is typically mixed with oxygen in a 70-30, 50-50, or 30-70 split. You simply breathe it in and start to feel the effects within about five minutes.
How Is Oxide Sedation Administered?
Oxide Sedation is delivered either through a nasal hood — a moulded piece of plastic that fits over your nose for you to breathe through. Tubes attached to the nasal hood connect to compressed gas canisters. One canister will contain oxygen, and the other the nitrous oxide.
You start with just oxygen, and then the dentist will slowly increase the amount of nitrous oxide in the mix until you get the proper effect.
The nasal hoods usually have two layers. The inner layer is often scented — vanilla, strawberry, mint, etc. — and is what you breathe from. The outer layer is a vacuum seal that collects any excess or escaped gas.
What You Can Expect During Oxide Sedation
Within the first few breaths you’ll start to feel calm and relaxed. There might be a slight tingling sensation through your body.
Nitrous oxide is also known as “laughing gas”, and for very good reason: You’ll feel a little light-headed, and suddenly find many things very, very funny. Uncontrollable giggling is a common side-effect of nitrous oxide sedation.
A common way to describe the sensation of Oxide Sedation is a “happy drunk” feeling. Some people experience auditory or visual effects as well.
There are four levels of sedation associated with Oxide Sedation, after the initial light-headedness:
- Tingling through the body, particularly the arms and legs.
- A feeling of warmth
- A feeling of well-being, euphoria, floating, etc. Your hearing may start to get worse and be replaced with a constant throbbing noise.
- Sleepiness, difficulty staying awake, potentially nausea.
During Oxide Sedation you should only reach the third level at most. If you start falling asleep, you have been over-sedated.
What To Expect After Oxide Sedation
Oxide Sedation wears off very quickly, so there’s not much to expect afterwards. It’s always recommended to get a lift home from any appointment involving sedation just to be on the safe side.
When Do You Use Oxide Sedation?
Oxide Sedation is an excellent choice for those who are anxious of the dentist and absolutely hate needles.
It’s always important to note that sedation is never required. It’s entirely up to you how comfortable you feel with the situation or the procedure. If you’re perfectly relaxed and comfortable at the dentist, then there’s nothing forcing you to undergo sedation.
Do I Need Anaesthetic As Well?
Unlike IV or Oral Sedation, Oxide Sedation also works as an anaesthetic. It’s entirely possible to get many procedures done simply under the effect of oxide sedation without any further local anaesthetic needed.
Particularly complex or invasive surgical procedures might require additional local anaesthetic, but for the most part the Oxide Sedation will do all the work.
Advantages of Oxide Sedation
The advantage of any form of sedation is to make anxious patients feel comfortable and relaxed.
Oxide Sedation itself has many specific advantages:
It works very rapidly. Nitrous oxide reaches the brain within 20 seconds and effects start to be felt in 2-3 minutes. Most other forms of sedation can take half an hour or an hour to start working.
Depth of sedation can be precisely controlled by gently increasing or decreasing the amount of nitrous oxide in the mix. IV Sedation allows dentists to increase the level of sedation, but decreasing it is very difficult. Oral Sedation gives almost no control. Oxide Sedation is the only form that allows dentists to manually, and quickly, modify sedation level.
Oxide Sedation wears off very quickly. In most cases you can drive yourself home afterwards, although it’s always a good idea to arrange a lift anyway. Unlike other forms of sedation, Oxide Sedation only works for the period it’s administered and wears off as quickly as it works.
Nitrous Oxide acts as a painkiller on the soft tissue and gum. Depending on the person, no further anaesthetic may be needed for procedures that don’t involve the teeth.
No needles! For those who are particularly phobic, Oxide Sedation is a great way to get relaxed enough to get the needle for IV Sedation, which then gets you relaxed enough for a needle to administer local anaesthetic.
There are no side-effects on the major organs.
Oxide Sedation can minimize, or even eliminate, severe gagging.
Cheaper than IV sedation.
Disadvantages of Oxide Sedation
Some people don’t like the effects of laughing gas, as they might lose control.
Some sensitive patients are prone to nauseas, although this is rare outside of over-sedation. Eating a meal 4 hours before, or a small snack just before, can help alleviate this.
Is There Anyone Who Can’t Get Oral Sedation?
Unlike other forms of sedation there are very few contra-indicators for Oxide Sedation.
People with MS, emphysema or other notable chest problems generally aren’t suitable candidates. As it’s administered through the nose, patients with colds and flus usually can’t receive it. Discuss with your dentist prior.
You can’t be allergic to nitrous oxide. Kidney, liver and heart issues aren’t a problem; neither are diabetes or epilepsy.
Can I Get Oxide Sedation Anywhere?
Strict qualifications are necessary to be able to safely and legally administer Oxide Sedation. Not every dentist undergoes these qualifications so not everyone can offer Oxide Sedation.
There’s also bulky and expensive equipment and materials involved. Not every dental clinic has the space necessary to store Oxide Sedation components.
Is Oxide Sedation Safe?
Yes. The amounts of nitrous oxide used in Oxide Sedation are not harmful.
Can Nitrous Oxide Cause Harm?
Pure nitrous oxide can be harmful, as can too much nitrous oxide delivered in one sitting. This is why the gas is mixed with a significant amount of oxygen — actually a greater percent than what’s in the Earth’s atmosphere. This prevents the nitrous oxide ever reaching dangerous levels.
Will I Remember Anything?
Unlike other forms of sedation, Oxide Sedation doesn’t typically involve memory loss, but can depend on the person.
Can I Drive Home Afterwards?
Yes, Oxide Sedation wears off very quickly.
Will I Be Asleep?
No. You’ll remain awake during the procedure, but feel very relaxed.
Will I Need Anaesthetic?
That depends on the type of procedure. Some procedures involving just the gums can actually be numbed by the Oxide Sedation, other more in-depth procedures will require further numbing.
If you want more information on how Oxide Sedation NW Calgary could work for you or your family, contact us to speak with a dentist or make an appointment.