No more laughing at the dentist?
Dentists in the private and public sectors across Qatar have been instructed to immediately stop the use of ‘laughing gas’ (nitrous oxide) while treating patients, the health ministry said.
“As part of the efforts of the Department of Healthcare Professions to ensure the efficiency and eligibility of all health practitioners working in the private sector in the State of Qatar, and to ensure the safety of patients in a manner that does not conflict with the quality of health services provided, it was decided at the seventh meeting of the Standing Committee for Licences to stop the use of laughing gas (nitrous oxide) immediately in all private sector health practices in the country,” the circular states.
Any violations or non-compliance with the mandate will lead to legal action, the ministry added.
Nitrous oxide is deemed a safe and effective mild sedative agent used by dentists globally during certain operations to help ease pain and anxiety.
It is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over the patient’s nose to help them relax. While it does not put the patient to sleep, it allows them to forego the uncomfortable feeling of pain.
Despite its name, laughing gas does not necessarily make the patient laugh. The nervous system is slowed down by nitrous oxide, which makes the patient feel less restrained.
It might cause a slight feeling of heaviness in the arms or legs, tingling, or lightheadedness.