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Our regular patients will already know that everyone here at Bel Canto is kind, friendly and compassionate, and we have a great deal of experience in setting nervous or anxious patients at ease.

Additionally, our dental practice has been carefully designed to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere and is filled with colour and art. However, sometimes we realize that isn’t quite enough, especially for anyone with more deep-seated fears who may struggle to visit a dentist. That is why we offer sedation dentistry in the form of nitrous oxide.

What is Nitrous Oxide?

Better known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen, is odourless, and is very safe. It is often used as a propellant in foods like whipped cream. In dentistry, nitrous oxide has been used for well over a hundred years. Nitrous oxide is called laughing gas due to the feelings of euphoria that many people experience. This occurs when the nitrous oxide reacts with the brain, altering how pleasure and pain receptors work.

How Is Nitrous Oxide Administered?

It is an excellent form of sedation because the effects are almost instantaneous. It is given via a small nose mask, so you simply inhale the gas for a few seconds before feeling deeply relaxed. You breathe in the gas for the duration of treatment. We continually monitor you to ensure the mixture is correct, that you feel entirely comfortable, and sedation provides the desired effects. While receiving Nitrous oxide, you can still respond to questions and remain completely aware during treatment but feel much calmer and more comfortable. After treatment is complete, we typically give 100% oxygen for a few minutes to help the gas be eliminated from your body more quickly. Once the gas is turned off, it only takes a short while to be eliminated from your body, typically just two or three minutes, so that you can go about your everyday activities soon afterwards.

Are There Any Potential Side-Effects of Using Nitrous Oxide?

Most people don’t have any side effects after receiving nitrous oxide. However, it’s not unusual to experience a slight numbing or tingling sensation when you inhale the gas, but this shouldn’t feel painful or uncomfortable. Some people experience minor side effects, including nausea, dizziness, and feeling shivery or fatigued. Avoiding heavy meals before receiving nitrous oxide is useful as this reduces the chance of feeling nauseous. When you visit Bel Canto, we can discuss all the potential side effects in more detail so you understand the pros and cons of treatment.

Who Can Have Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide is safe for all ages, including children and older people, when given in a supervised environment such as a dental office. However, when you first visit us, we carefully assess your suitability for any form of treatment, including sedation. To do this, we review your medical history to see if you have any allergies or adverse drug reactions. We also need to know about all your current medications. In some situations, nitrous oxide may not be the best form of treatment. We adhere strictly to the guidelines outlined by the Canadian Dental Association and the British Columbia Dental Association, and you can rest assured that your safety and comfort are always our top priority.

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