The History of Nitrous Oxide

Curious about the origins of nitrous oxide in the dentist’s chair? It’s time for a mini dental history lesson! Keep reading to learn how dentists started using this mild dental sedative to treat anxious patients, and how it can help improve your dental visits today!

What Is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide is often relied on in dental offices to make a patient’s experience more comfortable, especially for those with dental phobia or anxiety. When administered by a trained professional, it is a mild sedative that is safe and effective for nearly anyone at the dentist.

Mixed with oxygen, nitrous oxide is inhaled through a nose mask to gently induce a patient into a calm and relaxed state without putting them to sleep. Its effects wear off immediately after removing the nose mask.

A Brief History of Nitrous Oxide

In 1772, nitrous oxide was discovered by Joseph Priestly, a chemist in England. It took another chemist, Humphry Davey, to give it a name and discover its effects through experimenting on himself. At first, people utilized nitrous oxide only as entertainment and a recreational drug.

It wasn’t until the 1840s when an American dentist named Horace Wells began to connect the dots and realized that the gas could be used therapeutically to distract his patients from pain when they were undergoing a procedure. After many many years, it was recognized as a safe dental sedative during short procedures.

Why the Nickname “Laughing Gas”?

Early experimentation and demonstrations indicated that inhalation could cause feelings of intense merriment, giddiness, and euphoria. Modern use of nitrous oxide is kept at a safe level that causes a patient to feel comfortably calm, unaware of pain, and worry-free.

Dental Sedation at Red Oak Family Dentistry in McKinney, TX

For our patients who suffer from dental anxiety, nitrous oxide may be the perfect solution for you to get the dental care you need. Our modern dental office also offers ample patient amenities to put you at ease.

Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive dental services or to schedule an appointment at Red Oak Family Dentistry, your trusted dentist in McKinney, TX!

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