For a lot of people, especially young children, a visit to the dentist is a nothing less than a nightmare. This is where nitrous oxide comes into the picture. Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas as it is more popularly known, is a sweet-smelling gas known to cause instant “happy feelings” in the person inhaling it. So much so, in the 1900s, private parties in London were incomplete without laughing gas “booths.”
Consequently, it found a use in clinical settings with doctors using nitrous oxide to calm patients prior to operative procedures under general anesthesia. It was found to be especially effective in children. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is given through a small breathing mask which is placed over the child’s nose, allowing them to relax without putting them to sleep. Since it is inhaled and exhaled through the nasal mask, it doesn’t cause toxicity, unlike any other route of medication like oral or intravenous, wherein the chances of overdose are greater.
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