After effects of Nitrous oxide
Nitrous oxide side effects during or after dental treatments are rare and in most cases not severe. The most serious and dangerous side effects of nitrous oxide are usually reported after its use for recreational reasons, but this type of use is not the subject of this article.
The normal effects of nitrous oxide include a tingling sensation in the arms and legs, light-headiness, a sense of warmth, a floating sensation, followed by a feeling of euphoria and an increased pain threshold.
Symptoms like sleepiness, difficulty to keep the eyes open or speak, or nausea are indications that the patient has been over-sedated and has reached a deeper level of sedation than it should be. The following are some of the nitrous oxide side effects:
Nausea - Nausea and dizziness is the most common side effect of nitrous oxide sedation. If a patient starts to feel nausea, he has received a higher concentration of N2O versus O2 (usually over 50%) or for longer time than he can tolerate resulting in an overdose. The good news is that this effect is only temporary and the dentist can immediately be notified by the patient to reduce the nitrous oxide level until he feels comfortable again.
Each patient has a different level of tolerance in the gas. Some patients may also show signs of reverse tolerance to repeated use of nitrous oxide. Reverse tolerance means that the patient is getting more intense or prolonged feelings with the same or lower quantities of a drug at each subsequent use. N2O concentration should always be gradually increased (titration) at each visit, because even the same patient’s tolerance can vary from day to day.
Vomiting - Vomiting can occur as a side effect of nitrous oxide if the patient experience nausea during the administration of the gas. In this case the dentist must be ready to use the suction equipment to prevent the risk of the patient to inhale his own vomit and choke. The risk of vomiting is highly increased if the patient has a full stomach or has been drinking alcohol before the procedure.
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