Many people view visits to the dentist with no small amount of trepidation. Of course, there’s no need — dental procedures are safe and almost always painless, but something about the prospect makes many people feel uneasy. While some people opt for sedation dentistry — which involves being put under entirely — it isn’t without its risk of complications and can be inappropriate for some procedures.
It’s also not as convenient for either the patient or the dental care professionals. It can’t typically be used on children who, like many adults, struggle with anxiety or fear. Whatever the patient’s rationale, this kind of extreme nervousness can make sitting in the dentist’s chair incredibly unpleasant. This is where happy gas comes in: it’s a safe and effective solution and can help even the most fearful patient relax.
What Is Happy Gas?
You may have heard of happy gas or laughing gas and wondered what it was. These are common names for nitrous oxide, a gas that (when mixed with oxygen) makes a person feel calm and comfortable — and even sometimes euphoric — which is where the name “happy gas” undoubtedly comes from.
It can be used on both children and adults and is much safer and more convenient for the dentist or dental health care professionals to administer, making it an excellent choice for patients who suffer from pre-procedure anxiety. Of all types of sedation available to your dentist, it is the most common because of its many benefits.
Happy gas is supplied through a small mask placed over the nose. It has no discernible smell or taste, is colourless, and feels no different than regular air when inhaled. Patients being treated with happy gas can inhale it as if it were normal room air and at a normal pace, and the gas starts to show its effect within five minutes or so.
What Does Happy Gas Do to a Dental Patient?
Happy gas will make the patient feel drowsy and a bit dreamy, so they are not as affected by the things that may have been causing them anxiety. However, they are awake and conscious, which allows them to listen to the dentist’s instructions and cooperate properly, making the treatment process easier for everyone involved.
The gas and its effect wear off quickly and have no harmful side effects, as the level of the administered gas is carefully maintained by the practitioner. Unlike other types of sedation dentistry, it is almost entirely free of any ill effect.
What Are the Benefits of Happy Gas?
Happy gas is a safe and effective method of local sedation that begins before the treatment. The effect generally does not last after the procedure is completed. It is practical, safe, and helps many patients relax and generally feel more positive about their care. Although sleep sedation dentistry is a viable option for patients suffering from extreme phobias, happy gas still poses as an excellent option.
Benefits of Happy Gas:
- Completely safe
- Has a rapid onset and rapid cessation of effects
- Has both anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and analgesic (pain-relieving) effects
- It gives the dentist complete control
- No proper side effects
- Patients treated in such a way can return to normal activities immediately after treatment
- Recovery is immediate and leaves no lasting effect
- Sedation is brief, and its duration can be adjusted for any length of appointment
- The level of sedation can be changed entirely and immediately
Without happy gas, many patients would find their trip to the dentist extraordinarily unpleasant which could impede their dentist’s ability to provide proper care. With the sedation happy gas is able to provide, the dentist can treat them without any challenges, and the patient will typically remember their dental office visit as a positive experience.
Who Can Use Happy Gas?
Nitrous oxide is safe and effective and can be used on almost anyone. It works very rapidly, in only a few minutes, and is very safe, with no impairment or negative effect on the heart, lungs, or other organs. Happy gas is an excellent option for patients with disabilities, young children, and anyone suffering from dental anxiety.
While there is no danger, inhaling happy gas can cause disorientation, so patients are cautioned to remain seated until the effects wear off. As these effects only last a few minutes after the mask is removed, this is only a temporary condition. There is no “hangover” or other lasting effects, and adult patients can even drive themselves home after treatment.
When to Use Happy Gas?
When a patient experiences anxiety or fear that would make treatment difficult or unduly unpleasant, happy gas is a fantastic option that can provide comfort and make the treatments easier, more effective, and free the patient from unpleasant feelings.
The Happy Dental Solution
Many dentists rely on happy gas and the comfort it can bring. It’s not called happy gas for no reason, as it helps turn what would be an unpleasant experience for the patient into something comfortable for both the patient and the dental healthcare professionals administering the treatment.
If you require dental care but experience dental anxiety, talk to your dentist or dental care professionals about happy gas. They will be glad to tell you more about the anaesthetic and be eager to help make your dental visit worry-free. If you’re someone who has been putting off a dental visit because of anxiety, knowing there is a treatment choice that will enable you to receive regular care should be a source of comfort.