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One of the unsung heroes in dental history was a man named Joseph Priestly. He was the discoverer of nitrous oxide, or what is more commonly known as laughing gas, one of the most popular dental sedatives ever, and still in use today.

The history of dental sedation starts here. The year was 1772. Just four scant years from the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution. Imagine that! A patriotic connection to the dental industry. Before that, there was little by way of discomfort relief when undergoing surgery.

While it took some time and experimentation before doctor-dentists (they were both at the time) became converted to nitrous oxide as an anesthetic for general medical purposes, it started taking hold for wider application in the mid-1800s. One of the early problems of adoption was the fact that it was an odorless, colorless gas that had to be inhaled. Transporting it, along with the more complex preparation needed, made it more difficult to use.

When inhaled, laughing gas produces euphoria–a pleasant feeling, along with a numbing of the senses. It makes anxious patients calm and can be used safely alongside a local anesthetic to great effect during a dental procedure. It is a reliable form of sedation with few side-effects that can be easily evacuated from the body by the administration of oxygen.

If you’d like more information about dental anesthesia, feel free to call Drs Patel and Jensen and our team at Barry Village Dental. You can make an appointment at: 816-436-8949, or come by our office in Kansas City, Missouri.