Sedation Dentistry

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Nitrous Oxide in Dental Procedures


On December 11, 1844, American dentist Horace Wells pioneered the use of nitrous oxide as an anesthetic in dental extractions. Since then, the colourless and non-flammable gas has been commonly used for local anesthesia in various medical procedures. Every province in Canada has specific guidelines regarding the use of anesthesia that dental professionals must comply with. At Bite Dentalworks, we practise sedation dentistry in Calgary to help our patients overcome their anxieties and fears before each procedure. A good dentist will always discuss anesthetic management before a procedure and review it thoroughly.


In this blog, we will discuss about the advantages and disadvantages of using nitrous oxide in dental procedures.

Advantages of Nitrous Oxide in Sedation Dentistry

Nitrous oxide offers benefits for patients who experience stress or anxiety before a dental procedure. Some of them are listed below:

  • Helps in the treatment of patients with physical, mental and/or behavioral issues: Patients with attention deficit hyperactive disorders can stay relaxed with the use of sedation dentistry in Calgary.
  • Less time consuming: Dental procedures may take a long time, especially, when a patient finds it difficult to cooperate with the dentist’s requests. In such cases, a standard process can take more than a couple of hours to be completed. The application of nitrous oxide enables a patient to remain at ease, which helps complete the procedure faster. 
  • Affordable: In terms of cost, sedation dentistry in Calgary will enable your dentist to complete the procedure in fewer sessions and save you money in the long run.
  • Awake and alert: Unlike other sedatives, nitrous oxide doesn’t make you unconscious. Instead, you remain alert, responsive and receptive to suggestion.
  • Effects wear off quickly: The effects of the gas wear off so quick you can drive yourself home after the procedure.

Disadvantages of Nitrous Oxide in Dentistry


The gas has a few drawbacks when compared to other forms of sedation methods in dental procedures. Let’s take a look at them below:


  • Side effects: These include dizziness, sedation, nausea and vomiting. People with low tolerance levels are more likely to suffer from them. It is imperative that a dentist administers the right amount of the anesthesia prevent side-effects.
  • Reactions with other medications: You may have other conditions for which you may be under medication. It may not even cause the intended effect of sedating if the patient is already on some high-power medicines. It is recommended that patients on other drugs should reveal their medical history to the dentist.
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency: Given in high concentration for more than five hours, nitrous oxide can increase the risk of certain neurotoxic symptoms and vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • Mask sometimes interferes with dental treatment: The nasal mask sometimes interferes with some dental treatments, like that of the anterior maxillary teeth. This can cause discomfort to some patients during the procedure.
The advantages of using nitrous oxide during dental procedures far exceed the disadvantages. With sedation dentistry in Calgary, patients can be given suitable treatment services, including porcelain veneers and dental crown.

Our sedation dentists in Calgary are equipped with CEREC technology to provide advanced and specialized treatment to our patients. Contact us for
more information.