Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
Nitrous Oxide, also known as laughing gas, is inhalation gas that produces both mild sedative and analgesic attributes. It is administered through a nasal mask, and its sedative effects are fully reversible once the gas flow is terminated, so the patient does not require a driver. Nitrous oxide will not put the patient in a state of unconsciousness, so they are awake throughout the entire procedure. This type of sedation is recommended for mildly to moderately apprehensive patients.
Oral sedation is induced by ingesting a type of oral medication. This kind of anesthesia produces a much deeper form of sedation, and is best used for patients with moderate to intermediate apprehension. While this is a deeper form of sedation, it is not necessarily a “sleep” sedative, so most patients will remain awake during the procedure. It can be used in conjunction with nitrous oxide to produce a deeper relaxation. The patient’s vital signs will be monitored with this sedation. Oral sedation does require the patient to have a responsible driver to take them home after treatment.
Intravenous Sedation is the deepest form of sedation and is administered through anesthetic induction intravenously, with a line attached to the forearm or hand. IV sedation is “sleep” sedation, where the patient is completely unaware of the procedure occurring. The patient’s vital signs will be monitored throughout the procedure. A responsible driver is required to take the patient home after being discharged from the office. This kind of deep sedation is more appropriate for highly anxious patients, or those who have longer procedures.
General Anesthesia is the deepest level of sedation available, and must be administered in a hospital setting by a certified Anesthesiologist. This kind of sedation is used for extremely apprehensive patients or those with underlying medical conditions that do not make them suitable candidates for office sedation. Hospital procedures may be performed on an outpatient or an inpatient basis depending on the individual’s needs.