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Are there any risks in using nitrous oxide?

There are few risks with nitrous oxide when it is used appropriately by trained healthcare professionals. There is always a risk that too much nitrous oxide may be administered in error, but the effects of the overdose would last only for a short time. Any abused inhalant, including nitrous oxide, can cause sudden sniffing death (SSD), even with the first use. It is not understood how it happens, but complications with the heart result in death. Overexertion or a startling jolt has been implicated as a possible trigger for this occurrence. Risk of exposure is increased when working in areas that regularly use nitrous oxide. In its liquid form, nitrous oxide is very cold and can cause frostbite.

Nitrous oxide is a safe and well-tolerated sedative with few risks. Nitrous oxide can be adjusted as it is delivered and even reversed, if needed. While breathing nitrous oxide during a medical procedure, you should be awake, fully conscious, and able to speak. If you are having nitrous oxide with a dental procedure, it is important to follow your dentist's instructions about not eating food two hours prior to the visit. If you have respiratory congestion or are taking medications, be sure and let the dentist know before taking nitrous oxide.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.