Pros and Cons of Laughing Gas for Oral Surgery

For oral surgery procedures, a wide range of anesthesia options is available. In many cases, patients can choose their preferred method of sedation.

oral surgery

Many oral surgery patients prefer laughing gas, or nitrous oxide. Is it right for your procedure? Understanding the pros and cons of nitrous oxide may help you decide.

Benefits of Laughing Gas for Oral Surgery

With nitrous oxide, sedation is fast and easy to administer. The gas mixture is simply inhaled through a breathing mask. It isn’t unpleasant, because laughing gas has no taste or odor.

Nitrous oxide relieves feelings of fear and anxiety, replacing them with a sense of overall well-being. The perception of time and pain is altered, allowing patients who are fearful of their oral or maxillofacial surgery to relax and be comfortable throughout their procedure.

The effects of this anesthesia are mild, and the gas quickly wears off once the mask is removed. For those reasons, nitrous oxide is generally considered a safe choice for most oral surgery patients.

Drawbacks of Using Laughing Gas

This method of sedation has only a few potential drawbacks. One is the mask used to administer the gas. Some patients are uncomfortable breathing through it, so nitrous oxide is not a viable option.

For shy or reserved patients, the effects of this sedation can sometimes be a bit embarrassing. As the name suggests, laughing gas can cause the giggles. And if a deep level of sedation is reached, patients can enter a hallucinatory dream state.

In rare cases, patients can feel slight nausea or dizziness from the gas mixture. However, this dissipates as soon as the oral surgeon modifies the dosage.

Other Sedation Options for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Though nitrous oxide can be beneficial for many patients, it isn’t the right choice for every oral and maxillofacial surgery procedure.

Oral sedation, taken in pill form, is a good option for patients who need mild anesthesia but who aren’t comfortable using laughing gas. Patients who would rather be completely unaware during oral surgery can choose intravenous (IV) sedation. This anesthesia, administered directly into the bloodstream, induces grogginess and the perception of sleep.

More complex oral surgery procedures may require general anesthesia, the highest level of sedation. Under general anesthesia, patients are unconscious and unable to feel any pain. This sedation is typically only administered in a hospital or surgery center.

Dr. Partridge or Dr. Maxfield will work with you to determine the best method of sedation for you, based on your specific procedure, your overall health and your personal preferences.

The surgeons of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah are trained and certified to administer all forms of dental sedation, including laughing gas. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to discuss the right anesthesia for your upcoming oral surgery procedure.