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Safe in the Hands of a Cosmetic Dentist in Philadelphia: Busted Myths about Laughing Gas

By Gerald Regni, DMD on September 04, 2013

fear-of-laughing-gas-causing-heart-attacks-unfoundedA recent article in Cosmetic Dentists News debunks suspicions that nitrous oxide, commonly known as "laughing gas," can raise the risk of myocardial infarction, a.k.a. heart attack, during or after dental surgery. It is widely known that nitrous oxide inactivate vitamin B12 subsequently increases blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine. Vitamin B12 keeps blood cells healthy, while high levels of homocysteine have often been related to cardiovascular disease.

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis proved that no firm link could be established between the use of this laughing gas as an anesthetic and the likelihood of a heart attack. As a sedative, nitrous oxide is typically administered for minimally invasive procedures like tooth extraction and root canal. For years, this drug was appreciated for its ability to help reduce pain and anxiety, yet it also suffered from unfounded fears that its use can lead to heart attack. Fortunately, the results of the study gives new hope to any cosmetic dentist in Philadelphia who uses this anesthetic.

A team of researchers led by Peter Nagele, MD studied the effects of nitrous oxide on 500 patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis who were diagnosed with various heart ailments. A test group received intravenous doses of folic acid and vitamin B12, while another group did not get the B vitamin. Surprisingly, neither group displayed significant differences in the risk of heart attack. This is indeed good news for patients who wish to experience pain-free cosmetic dentistry.

Even patients with common variants in the MTHFR gene, which predisposes them to produce higher homocysteine blood levels, did not show any unusual response to nitrous oxide. In fact, only 3.1 percent of patients with such a high-risk genetic variant suffered heart attack as a result of surgery. Meanwhile, natural dentists like Gerald Regni, DMD take matters a step further by looking at patients’ dental problems from a holistic perspective instead of merely focusing on risk avoidance.

Patients about to undergo any invasive dental procedure for reconstructive or cosmetic purposes, therefore, need not feel apprehensive about receiving laughing gas as an adjunct to local anesthesia. The drug’s anesthetic effects are certainly not diminished by its impact on homocysteine and the B12 vitamin. In any case, those who prefer a more well-rounded approach to pain-free cosmetic dentistry may want to see a trusted Philadelphia cosmetic dentist like Dr. Regni who uses natural and biocompatible substances.

With these new findings, patients concerned about their cardiovascular health can rest easy knowing that pain-free cosmetic dentistry involving nitrous oxide is indeed safe and effective. That being said, the success of any dental procedure will also largely depend on the dentist’s skill.

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