For wisdom teeth removal, bone grafting, dental implant placement and other oral surgery procedures, you have several anesthesia options. And while your oral surgeon will offer recommendations, the decision on which method of sedation to use is generally in your hands.
Is laughing gas the right choice for you? Also known as nitrous oxide, it’s the preferred anesthesia for many oral surgery patients. Below, we explain the benefits and drawbacks to help you decide.
Reasons to Consider Laughing Gas
Nitrous oxide is easy to administer, as patients only need to breathe in the gas to feel the effects. And since the gas has no odor or flavor, the experience isn’t unpleasant.
As for the sensations produced by laughing gas, patients typically find that their anxiety and fear are gone — they feel comfortable, relaxed and content. Nitrous oxide also alters the perception of pain and time, so the oral surgery procedure seems to pass in a flash.
The effects of the gas mixture are mild and wear off soon after the breathing mask is removed. So for most oral surgery patients, it’s a safe anesthesia option.
Potential Downsides to Laughing Gas
Though most people can comfortably breathe through the mask, some find it constrictive. For these patients, laughing gas isn’t a viable option.
In rare cases, inhaling the gas can cause dizziness or nausea. But the issues dissipate as the dosage is adjusted and disappear as the anesthesia wears off.
And as its name suggests, laughing gas can give you the giggles. Breathing it in also puts some people into a hallucinatory dream state. Neither is a problem as far as the procedure goes, but the effects can be embarrassing for those who are shy or reserved.
Other Oral Surgery Anesthesia Options
Before you decide which sedation method is right for you, talk to your oral surgeon. Laughing gas isn’t the best anesthesia option for everyone — sometimes, oral or intravenous (IV) sedation is a better choice.
And for complex oral surgery procedures, general anesthesia may be necessary. It produces the highest level of sedation, where patients are unconscious and cannot feel any pain. This form of anesthesia is usually reserved for procedures performed at a hospital or surgical center.
When you’re ready to discuss your anesthesia options, make an appointment at Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. Dr. Garrison and Dr. Kelly are trained and certified in the administration of all types of dental sedation, and we can help you decide if laughing gas is the right anesthesia for your upcoming oral surgery procedure. To schedule a consultation, contact our Indianapolis, Indiana, office today.