Laughing Gas Explained

Nitrous oxide has been around for a couple of hundred years and has been used as a mild anesthetic for minor surgeries. Nitrous Oxide is a gas that has no color or smell. Known earlier and by most as “laughing gas” this gas gives people giddiness if inhaled through a can dispenser or from a balloon. After discovering this laughing gas, Doctor Horace Wells in the 1840’s experimented with and realized that Nitrous oxide is desensitizing people who would regularly feel pain while undergoing tooth extractions. With this discovery by Doctor Wells, Nitrous Oxide started to be used as an anesthetic for minor procedures such as dental work over the years. As you can see Nitrous Oxide has had a long history for its anesthetic use. The use of Nitrous Oxide for dental work has received a lot of criticism because of the over use of the gas. The effects of Nitrous Oxide last only a few minutes, which causes repeat uses for patients receiving dental work; especially for children. The repeat use of Nitrous Oxide receives skepticism from many people including dentists because the effects is has on oxidizing important vitamins which the body needs such as vitamin B12 and Folate; better known as Folic acid. Deficiencies in vitamin B12 and Folic acid can do excessive harm to your body.  Nitrous Oxide works rapidly usually taking seconds and it can be controlled by the dentist with switching it on or off. The administering of the gas is what makes it possibly dangerous, because it must have a minimum limit of oxygen continuously while being inhaled. Some who have inhaled Nitrogen Oxide for dental work experience the uncomfortable side effects including nausea, gagging, and dizziness. The administering of Nitrous Oxide needs to be very calculated and given great attention to keep it from harming the patient. So next time you inhale gas from a balloon with Nitrous Oxide, don’t overdo it!