My First Experience With Nitrous Oxide

I have dental phobia. At an appointment last year, I learned I had a LOT of work to be complete. My dentist refused to complete it all in one visit since it would require my entire mouth to be numbed. Besides hurting myself and not being able to drink or eat, there was a bigger concern that I wouldn’t be able to bite properly and I’d have to return once the numbing wore off. He could sense my nervousness about the ordeal and discussed using nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas) to help me relax. I left contemplating what to do (read more about that here).

The good news is, my dentist left the practice (well, it’s not really good since I felt comfortable with him). But, I was able to convince the receptionist if they did not schedule all the work for one appointment, I most likely wouldn’t return after the first visit.

I opted for the nitrous oxide and to say I was nervous is an understatement. I had heard about people passing out and that really freaked me out. My mask was fitted and the valve was turned on. The mask was not what I expected. I imagined it would be similar to oxygen tubes that fit under nostrils, not something that covered my entire nose (see below).

The most difficult part was breathing in and out through my nose, I felt as though I was suffocating. But once the gas started to work, I did feel more relaxed. Well…until the needles were brought out. Remember, the gas is there to help you feel more comfortable NOT to take away the pain. I felt all 6 of the needles and tears still streamed down my face! The weirdest part of all is that my heart started to race when the numbing meds were administered, the dental assistant warned me it is a normal reaction, something about the mixture of the nitrous oxide with the meds. I was told if my fingers started to tingle or go numb, to let them know immediately.

Once my mouth was completely numb and the dentist started to work, I really couldn’t stand the mask on my face any longer and removed it. It was nice to have fresh air again.

I probably would opt for nitrous oxide again if I had a lot of dental work to be complete but definitely not for routine appointments that do not require needles.

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