Nitrous oxide was first discovered in 1744, but not actually used in dentistry until around one hundred years later. Since then, nitrous oxide dentistry has become popular, and it is well documented that this type of dentistry can help in many situations. It has been found to be one of the safest anesthetics available for use in dentistry, and is commonly used with children.
There are some situations when an individual really needs dental work to be done, but is afraid of the process involved. This is when nitrous oxide dentistry is most helpful. Because of the calming effects of nitrous oxide, these patients are able to sit through the process without the normal anxiety that they might otherwise feel.
Children, especially those who have not spent much time in a dentist’s office, are frequently scared of the whole experience, and unwilling to allow any work to be done. One way to calm them down and get them to realize that the dentist’s office doesn’t have to be a scary place is through the use of nitrous oxide dentistry. They might even like the feelings of euphoria that the gas gives them.
Another category of people that sometimes has difficulty with the idea of dental work is those who have strong gag reflexes. Having someone messing around inside their mouth, and having to keep it propped open for so long can cause them real problems. Nitrous oxide dentistry will relax their muscles enough so that their gag reflex is not so strong and the dentist will be able to work on them.
Since there aren’t many risks involved in the use of this gas, it is commonly used in the above situations. It takes effect almost right away, and you can return to normal activities almost right after your dental work is finished. However, there is a small percentage of people that can’t use this type of gas. These include those who have difficulties breathing through their nose for whatever reason, and those who are claustrophobic. The gas does not work for some people, and in these situations another solution needs to be found, perhaps general anesthesia.