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How Does Nitrous Oxide Work?

 How Does Nitrous Oxide Work?Sadly, while dental surgical procedures can sometimes be critical in a person maintaining good oral health, that’s no guarantee that the work required will be painless. In the event that a family dentist in Long Island has evaluated a mouth and decided that it may be time for a tooth extraction, or even recommends dental implants, it’s impossible to promise that this isn’t going to hurt. However, that pain, while a natural reaction to a surgical technique, does not necessarily have to be experienced. There are plenty of ways for a dental patient to under-go more comprehensive dental work without experiencing the discomfort. A family dentist can always recommend either a local or a general anesthetic, such as nitrous oxide. So what is nitrous oxide, and how does it work?

A Classic Method

Nitrous oxide can be used by a family dentist in Long Island as well as surgeons and other medical professionals all over the world. It is, in fact, one of the older forms of anesthesia application, having first been discovered in the 18th century! It was the British scientist, Jason Priestly, who first discovered the properties of nitrous oxide, in addition to isolating other important gases, such as oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Nitrous oxide has the far less formal name “laughing gas,” which is a reference to the side-effect this gas may have. When inhaled in smaller amounts, nitrous oxide can cause a brief, euphoric effect. In other words, a little bit of nitrous oxide may make people feel happy or amused. So happy, in fact, that they want to laugh. And it was this property that the gas was used for, strictly as a novelty or entertainment, for about 50 years.

It wasn’t until 1844, in America, when a doctor by the name of Horace Wells, noticed that friend under the influence of nitrous oxide tripped into a bench but was unaware of the accident because he experienced no pain. Wells decided to take this a step further and volunteered to have a molar removed while under the influence of nitrous oxide! He experienced no pain, and the gas was then widely used for dental surgery.

Nitrous Oxide Today

Of course, this is supposed to be what is known as a general anesthetic. A local anesthetic is one that is delivered directly to the area of the body on which surgery is taking place, to nullify the sensation of pain only that specific area. A general anesthetic, on the other hand, delivers its dosage to the entire body. This can result in either being rendered completely unconscious so that patients literally sleep through the procedure. In the case of nitrous oxide, when applied by a specialist with a family dentist in Long Island attending, it reduces the over-all ability to feel pain, as well as significantly reduces anxiety. It does not, however, actually knock the patient out, the way some of the stronger anesthetics can.

If you’re interested in having an anesthetic applied for your extensive, dental procedure, a family dentist in Long Island can help to determine whether nitrous oxide is right for you.


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