SINGAPORE: The National Dental Center Singapore (NDCS) has announced that it is extending its nitrous oxide sedation services beyond pediatric patients. After successfully piloting the use of nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas,” to sedate 24 pediatric patients for dental treatments, NDCS is slated to introduce this service for elderly or adult patients with special needs early next year.

In a statement on Wednesday (13 Dec), NDCS revealed that nitrous oxide sedation commenced in June this year for pediatric patients produced positive outcomes in alleviating pain and anxiety during dental procedures. Nitrous oxide induces feelings of happiness when inhaled and has a mild anaesthetic effect.

The sedation process involves patients inhaling a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen through a nasal mask, allowing them to remain awake during treatment while experiencing a relaxed state. Post-treatment, patients are instructed to inhale 100% pure oxygen for five minutes to prevent potential side effects such as nausea or headaches.

Nitrous oxide is known for its rapid elimination from the body compared to regular anaesthesia, contributing to its reputation for being generally safer. NDCS emphasized the minimal and generally safe nature of nitrous oxide sedation in dental procedures. Common side effects may include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and tingling sensations in the extremities.

The dental centre highlighted the safety of nitrous oxide sedation when used correctly, citing its milder nature and lower risks to respiratory and hemodynamic systems compared to general anaesthesia. The expansion of this sedation option is mainly aimed at adult patients with severe dental anxiety who may require extended or complex dental procedures.

However, NDCS said that nitrous oxide sedation is contraindicated for pregnant women, those who are unwell, and individuals with cold or flu symptoms, infectious diseases, or respiratory infections.

In addition to providing expanded services, NDCS revealed plans to conduct a comprehensive study on reported outcomes in patients sedated with nitrous oxide. This research initiative aims to further validate the effectiveness and safety of nitrous oxide sedation in diverse patient populations.