Origins of laughing gas
Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, was the first anaesthetic used for dental procedures. The first patient to use it In December, 1844, considered it a great success! He was a dentist, Dr Horace Wells, and Dr John Riggs removed his wisdom tooth.
However, the first public demonstration saw Wells himself extract a tooth from a medical student to mixed reviews. Dr Wells believed an insufficient dose resulted in a noisy reaction from the patient who, nevertheless, reported upon ‘waking’ that he hadn’t felt a thing.
History of dental anaesthetics
Ether and chloroform soon joined the menu of dental anaesthetics. The use of both discontinued due to high flammability and potential toxicity/overdose respectively. Only nitrous oxide has stood the test of time as a safe and effective form of ‘conscious sedation’.
How is nitrous oxide or laughing gas given?
A mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide gasses is breathed in via a mask until a pleasant lightness is felt. This comes with a sense of relaxation and reduction of anxiety. Removing the mask, or turning off the nitrous flow means normal room air is breathed again, and the effects wear off in a matter of a few breaths.
It is commonly used across all ages of patients. It can also be used to suppress a sensitive gag reflex that interferes with treatment, and to help manage the stress some feel when visiting the dentist.
Nitrous oxide is available at CJ Carter Dental!
Nitrous oxide is available at CJ Carter Dental. Please ask during a consultation or when a treatment plan is discussed.