We have nitrous oxide gas, which is also known as “happy” or “laughing” gas.
It is used in a mixture with oxygen, and is properly called relative analgesia (RA).
Nitrous Oxide provides only a small pain reduction, and is particularly useful in treatment of:
- tooth scaling (as some patients find this treatment uncomfortable due to sensitive teeth/tender gums)
- small fillings
- impression taking (“moulds” of the teeth) or some Xrays (as it helps suppress the gag reflex)
Note: it is not a substitute for local anaesthesia which is an injection to thoroughly numb an area, although it can be useful to help overcome anxiety of the delivery of such an injection.
Nitrous Oxide can be helpful because:
- it can reduce anxiety
- provides a mild sedation effect
- the patient retains consciousness
- the effect will wear off virtually immediately when the gas is stopped.