Some people hear the phrase “root canal” and shiver in fear. This common endodontic procedure has an unfairly bad reputation. Most people who fear them have never had one, so they are not reacting from experience, but from hearsay.
Today, root canal treatments can be completely comfortable, and one of the ways we ensure patients’ comfort is through the use of laughing gas.
What is Laughing Gas?
Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, is an inhaled medication that reduces anxiety without causing sedation. Laughing gas is a gas called nitrous oxide (N2O), and when breathed through a nosepiece, it helps people feel calm and reduces their awareness of the sensations of a dental procedure. It is perfectly safe and causes no lingering “hangover” effect like other sedative medications do. People who use laughing gas for a dental visit do not need someone to drive them home, and can even return to work just afterward if they desire.
Patients who breathe laughing gas typically state that the appointment seems to go by very quickly, and they do not remember all of the sights, sounds, and feelings of the dental work they underwent.
Do I Need Laughing Gas for a Root Canal Treatment?
This sedation method is not a requirement for undergoing root canal treatment. Many people choose to have their dental treatment using just local anesthetic and no additional medications or sedatives. Some, however, feel anxiety with respect to root canal treatments, and laughing gas can help them relax and undergo their needed treatment calmly and comfortably.
What are the Advantages of Laughing Gas?
Nitrous Oxide is a wonderful addition to any dental procedure for those patients who are anxious or fearful. It carries several advantages over other sedation options typically offered in dental offices.
Patients feel less discomfort during a procedure when they inhale laughing gas. The nitrous oxide has a dulling effect that reduces the sensation of pain.
The same dulling effect that reduces the sensation of pain also reduces the patient’s awareness of the sights, sounds, and feelings of the dental procedure. The simplest way to explain is to say that you still know what is going on around you; you just don’t care!
No Lingering Effects
After the procedure is complete, your doctor turns off the nitrous oxide medication and switches it to 100% oxygen. Breathing oxygen for five minutes completely eliminates all of the laughing gas from your system, so you feel “normal” very quickly.
Highest Level of Safety
Many sedative options carry risks for depressed breathing or over-sedation. While nitrous oxide can make some people feel nauseated or uncomfortable (particularly those with claustrophobia), it cannot physically harm you. It is the safest option to reduce anxiety in the dental chair.
Nitrous Oxide is not free, but it is relatively inexpensive when compared with other sedative options typically offered to dental patients. It ranges from $50-100 per visit, and dental insurance usually does not cover it.
More Questions about Laughing Gas for Root Canals?
Call Empire Dental Specialty Group today to schedule a consultation with one of our root canal experts. We can answer any question you have about N2O, root canals, and how they can work together to give you a great experience at the dentist.