Dental 101: How It All Started with Nitrous Oxide
For people who do not like the idea of scheduling dental appointments due to reasons like fear, pain, or anxiety, there are now ways to feel more at ease. Sedation dentistry options are made available to help people feel more relaxed during dental visits. As a result, patients who initially thought of professional dental care as unpleasant can now receive the oral care they need and deserve. But how was the said option to provide comfort during procedures discovered? Find out by reading the history of the said sedative as we at Avalon Dental Group have prepared!
History of Nitrous Oxide
A well-known dentist in the year 1830 named Horace Wells was worried about the pain his patients feel during teeth extractions since there were no anesthetics available yet. It was in 1844 when Wells attended an event which was supposedly a demonstration. Gardner Colton, the host, made it as a part scientific presentation, part sideshow spectacle of the mysterious effects of nitrous oxide. When Colton briefly attended medical school, they used to experiment with the odorless and colorless gas, so he already knew what to expect.
During the show, a volunteer from the audience whom Colton administered the nitrous oxide to, burst in fits of giggles. There was also another volunteer who accidentally injured his leg on stage. But when Wells asked about the accident, the volunteer replied that there was no memory of pain.
The next day, Wells decided to ask one of his colleagues and Colton to administer nitrous oxide while extracting one of his troubled teeth. When the tooth was removed, Wells said that the pain was “not so much as the prick of a pin.” It then seemed that these three men had invented a painless way to perform dental procedures.
Horace Wells decided to train more from Colton then perform dozens of procedures; all of which were pain-free. When Wells thought that he had discovered a miracle, he decided to conduct a public demonstration in 1845. The ones in the crowd were medical students in Boston and Harvard professors. Unfortunately, saying that the show did not go well is an understatement. It was a disaster! The patient who Wells administered the nitrous oxide to cried out in pain as a tooth was extracted. The crowd then ridiculed Wells with words “Swindler” and “Humbug.” As a result, the mind behind the discovery of nitrous oxide sank into depression.
Fortunately, the American Dental Association (ADA) recognized nitrous oxide as a powerful anesthetic in 1864 and is being taken advantage by dental patients nowadays.
Want to take advantage of more relaxed dental appointments with the help of nitrous oxide? Call or visit us at Avalon Dental Group and avail of our sedation dentistry in Sugar Land, TX!
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2225 Williams Trace Blvd, Suite 111
Sugar Land, TX 77478
Phone: (281) 240-5559
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