Nitrous Oxide vs. IV Sedation: Weighing the Pros and Cons for Your Procedure

The sedative dental treatment patients receive can significantly affect the outcome of procedures. In Jacksonville, FL, residents trust Dr. Tiffany Shields as a cosmetic dentist. She firmly believes that our community members should have access to information to make informed decisions about their dental procedures. Two of the options we recommend are nitrous oxide and intravenous (IV) sedation. We hope the following comparison of nitrous oxide vs. IV sedation helps you better understand these options and ask questions during your Jacksonville cosmetic dentistry consultation.

What You Need to Know About Nitrous Oxide

Often referred to as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is a colorless, odorless, short-term sedative. The slightly sweet-smelling gas is routinely used in dental procedures to relax patients. Nitrous oxide is applied through a gas mask or nose-piece, but it does not necessarily make people laugh. As you breathe in the gas, it has a profound effect on dental patients. Some experience a sense of euphoria, and others chuckle.

Although everyone reacts to nitrous oxide products slightly differently, these rank among the prevalent reactions to laughing gas:

  • Feeling Calm and Relaxed
  • A Sense of Happiness
  • Giggling and Laughing
  • Light-Headed and Tingling in the Extremities
  • Experiencing Heaviness or Sinking Into the Dentist’s Chair

Understanding that nitrous oxide does not necessarily put patients to sleep is important. It usually dulls any pain you might experience during cosmetic surgery in Jacksonville. People under the influence of nitrous oxide generally maintain the ability to communicate with their dentist.

Pros and Cons of Nitrous Oxide

The American Dental Association recommends mixing no more than 70 percent nitrous oxide with 30 percent oxygen. Only a dentist, certified nurse, or anesthetist with formal training can administer the sedative in Florida. That being said, these rank among the pros and cons of opting for nitrous oxide:

  • Safe: Nitrous oxide can be administered to young and older dental patients.
  • Efficient: The sedative does not require puncturing the skin, veins, or blood interactions.
  • Short-Term: This sedative wears off relatively quickly, allowing patients to recover and resume their day shortly after the procedure.
  • Not Suitable for All: Patients with limited lung capacity, stuffy nasal passages, and other conditions may not be candidates for nitrous oxide sedation.
  • Pain: Although it can dull the pain, people with acute sensitivity may experience significant discomfort.

If you are considering working with cosmetic dentistry in Jacksonville, FL, discussing nitrous oxide and IV sedation is critical. Determining the option that meets your needs can significantly improve the experience and outcome.

What You Need to Know About IV Sedation

The primary reason that dental patients prefer IV sedation over nitrous oxide stems from the fact the former puts them to sleep. Dental offices typically use medications that include Propofol, Ketamine, Dexmedetomidine, and a variety of benzodiazepines. These powerful medications can render people unconscious for the entire procedure.

A certified provider uses a thin IV needle to penetrate the skin and a vein. A solution with the medication is introduced through a tube. Your vital signs are monitored during the procedure to ensure your health and safety. Unlike nitrous oxide, Floridians do not experience relaxation or euphoric aspects. You usually go to sleep and awaken after the cosmetic dental procedure has been completed.

Pros and Cons of IV Sedation

One of the leading reasons people prefer IV sedation involves the emotional impact of oral surgery. Being put to sleep allows our Jacksonville cosmetic dentistry patients to wake up with little recollection of the process. These are other pros and cons associated with dental IV sedation.

  • Quick: This option works quickly because the medication is introduced directly into the bloodstream.
  • Reduces Anxiety: People who struggle with stress and anxiety often find IV sedation the most relaxing way to undergo procedures, such as dental implants in Jacksonville.

There are several negatives to weigh as well. People who opt for IV sedation usually require longer anesthesia recovery times. Over-sedation, excessive drowsiness, nausea, and respiratory issues can also prove problematic. That’s why it’s crucial to weigh these pros and cons against your current health situation with a dentist in Jacksonville, FL, that residents trust.  

Schedule a Consultation Time with Dr. Tiffany Shields in Jacksonville, Florida

At Smiles By Shields, we take a personalized and holistic approach to dental health because it impacts your entire body and emotional wellness. Contact our Jacksonville dentistry office today if you are considering braces, dental implants, crowns, or another cosmetic procedure.  


Contact us

Smiles by Shields
3940 San Jose Park Dr.
Jacksonville, FL 32217