Nitrous Oxide Analgesia
Nitrous oxide is a chemical compound that is composed of nitrogen and oxygen. This gas, also known as “laughing” gas, is used by oral sedation dentists in order to decrease the anxiety in patients that is sometimes associated with going to the dentist. Nitrous oxide is a useful component in many types of treatment: tooth restoration, crown replacement, minor oral surgery, etc. When used in conjunction with local anesthetics, it serves to increase a person’s pain threshold and even make the procedure time seem to pass more quickly. Another aspect of nitrous oxide that is beneficial to sedation dentists is that the effects naturally subside and don’t leave any lingering impairment.
This is another method for reducing procedure-related anxiety in dental patients. The dentist will introduce chemicals like midazolam or diazepam intravenously into the patient’s system. The resulting state of consciousness allows the patient to feel calm and yet still respond to verbal promptings and physical stimulation. It produces this calming effect without the risks associated with general anesthesia.
Dr. Caplanis is specially trained and licensed to perform intravenous conscious sedation and has administered over 2000 anesthetics over his career. His monitoring techniques include pulse oximetry, continuous precordial stethoscope monitoring, interval blood pressure readings continuous pulse and ECG monitoring exceeding State requirements.
DON’T drive for at least 24 hours. It can be extremely dangerous to drive while the effects of the anesthesia are still lingering. Your reaction times and judgment may be impaired, so it’s best to arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home.
DON’T operate any kind of complex equipment for the same reasons that you shouldn’t drive a car. Equipment like lawnmowers and forklifts can be dangerous to operate while your senses are still impaired.
DON’T make any important personal, legal or financial decisions while under the effects of the anesthesia. The effect on your mental state is hard to predict, so it’s best to simply rest and recover for those first 24 hours.
DON’T take any additional medications unless your doctor has prescribed them. Medications like prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs can have an adverse effect when combined with the anesthetic.
DON’T drink alcohol for the first 24 hours. As a type of drug, alcohol can also have an adverse effect in combination with the anesthetic.
DO leave the office accompanied by a responsible adult. This person will ensure that you travel safely, as well as provide immediate care at home. You should continue to have this adult with you for 24 hours after surgery.
DO remain quietly at home for the day and rest. You need rest both because you have received anesthesia, and because you have undergone a surgical procedure – even one that is considered minor. If, after a day, you still do not feel recovered, you may want to continue your rest for an additional day or two. Discuss your planned return to work with your physician.
DO arrange for someone to care for your small children for the day. Even if given instructions to play peacefully and not overtax you, children sometimes forget such directions or have trouble staying quiet for an entire day. The most predictable course of action is to leave small children and babies in the care of another responsible adult.
DO take liquids first and slowly progress to a light meal. Heavy foods can be difficult for your system to digest, thereby increasing the chance for discomfort. For your nourishment, start by taking liquids, and then eat light foods, such as broth or soup, crackers or toast, plain rice, Jell-O and yogurt.
* These guidelines were provided by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. For more information on anesthesia, please go to www.aana.com.