Conscious Inhalation Sedation

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Paediatric dentistry - laughing gas

Conscious Inhalation Sedation
Nitrous oxide (N2O2)

Nitrous oxide (N2O2), also known as laughing gas, was identified in around 1774 by the English chemist Joseph Priestley. Its history has been closely linked to dentistry as in 1840 a dentist, Horace Wells, carried out a series of studies with the gas, using it as pain relief and disputing with William Morton about who actually created conscious inhalation sedation. In 1868, a surgeon from Chicago, Edmund Andres, started to use it in combination with oxygen - this method is still used today and is extremely popular due to its safety and effectiveness.

Nitrous oxide was the main means of sedation used in dental medicine for many years. It is a very safe process during which patients are given 50-70% oxygen (the air we breathe contains only 21% oxygen), along with a N2O2 percentage of 30-50%.

It has a sweet smell, it is non-irritating and colourless. Patients are able to breathe alone, talk and retain control over their bodily functions.

It has a sweet smell, it is non-irritating and colourless. Patients are able to breathe alone, talk and retain control over their bodily functions.

The term is Conscious (someone who knows what they are doing) Inhalation (absorb through the respiratory tracts) Sedation (act of sedating - moderating; calming)

It is not an anaesthetic process, it is just sedation. Just as anxiolytics pills can be taken, inhalation sedation is a drug administered through the respiratory track with medical assistance. It has the advantage of acting quickly in around 3-5 minutes, and leaving the body quickly, again in around 3-5 minutes. It has been commonly used in many countries (USA, UK, Finland, Canada, Brazil, Iceland, etc.) for many years with 100% safety.

Some advantages of using conscious inhalation sedation

> The level of conscious sedation can be increased or decreased during treatment

> There is no physiological or mental alteration after sedation, and the patient can drive after treatment

> Inhalation sedation is 100% safe for the heart and lungs

> It is suitable for those suffering from heart disease and high blood pressure, as it lowers the heart rate and blood pressure

> It eliminates fear and anxiety about dental treatment, leading to deep relaxation, an elevated sensation of wellbeing and provides pre-anaesthetic painkilling

> Acts very quickly in around 3-5 minutes, and leaves the body quickly, again in around 3-5 minutes

> It is much safer than other types of sedation given by mouth (Dormicum, Valium, Sedoxil, Xanax, etc.)


VMC Quantiflex MTX anesthesia machine
Sedation - child

No food should be eaten 4 hours prior to treatment with conscious sedation, and nothing should be drunk within 2 hours of the treatment. Please let us know what medication you are taking, regardless if it is homeopathic or natural, etc. as some of the main active ingredients of some drugs - specifically for the central nervous system, should not be taken within 8 days of treatment with nitrous oxide sedation

Who should not use inhalation sedation?

There are no major contraindications for using this type of sedation. However, its use in patients with severe lung emphysema, or any other severe breathing difficulty, must be properly appraised. This type of conscious sedation is administered through the nose, so if you have a cold and cannot breathe through your nose, it cannot be used
You may want to test how you feel with this type of sedation after 5 minutes before proceeding.



We use a pulse oximeter to monitor all of your vital signs during the entire sedation and treatment process (heart rate, percentage of O2 in the blood and blood pressure).

A small clip is placed on your finger so that you can relax and rest properly.

Pulse oximeter
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