Did you know that there is a lot more to nitrous oxide than just the sedative that’s used at the dentist office? It may be a little weird to say this about gas, but there are a lot of interesting facts about it! Here are just a few:
1. Nitrous oxide is also known as “laughing gas” because of the light and euphoric effects you get after inhaling it. Some people actually react to the gas by laughing while others just feel a little sleepy.
2. Some bacteria in oceans and soil emit nitrous oxide.
3. They discovered that nitrous oxide can help relieve pain back in 1880, although it wasn’t really used for that purpose until 1844 and wasn’t used by dentists until the 1860’s.
4. Nitrous oxide is used in racing to make engines more powerful. It’s also used as an oxidizer in rocket motors.
5. The food industry uses nitrous to help give aerosol whipped cream volume. It’s also used in cooking spray as a propellant and in bags of potato chips to keep the bags puffy–after all, nobody likes crushed chips!
6. After the nitrous is turned off it flushes from the body quickly, which helps you to stay awake while in the dental chair.
7. Nitrous oxide is great for children while at their dental visit. It’s safe, and helps them stay calm while being worked on.
8. Some dentists offer scented nitrous oxide, including strawberry, vanilla, and mint.
9. Patients who tend to be afraid of needles may find that nitrous oxide relaxes them enough to withstand getting a shot.
10. Nitrous oxide is cheaper than IV sedation.
11. Nitrous oxide works quickly and can help you relax within 3 minutes.
12. The nitrous oxide that is used by your dentist is actually a mixture of 70% oxygen and 30% nitrous oxide. For other medical uses the mixture can be 50/50.
13. People are not allergic to nitrous oxide and it’s considered safe for those with diabetes, epilepsy, liver, heart, or cardiovascular disease. However, if you have respiratory disease you should discuss that with your dentist.