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Mandibular-position sensation during sedation by administration of nitrous-oxide (N2O) gas

Mandibular-position sensation during sedation by administration of nitrous-oxide (N2O) gas

Journal of Oral Science 41(3): 123-126

Our aim was to confirm the influence of N2O gas on mandibular-position sensation. The subjects in this study were eight healthy adults. Each subject was asked to hold the reference stick for five seconds between the central tooth in his or her upper and lower jaws. Then, the reference stick was replaced by the test sticks with different thickness, each of which the subjects were again asked to hold at the same position for five seconds. The subjects were instructed to determine, based on judgement of the interincisal distance, whether the thickness of each test stick was larger or smaller than the reference stick. A series of trials was administered to each subject using all eight sizes of test sticks. We compared the ability of the subjects to discriminate mandibular position both before and after the application of a vibrating stimulus to the masticatory muscles, and before and during the administration of N2O gas. Discrimination ability was significantly decreased after the application of the vibrating stimulus. However, during the administration of N2O gas, no significant difference in discrimination ability was observed between before and after the vibrating stimulus. The results of this study indicated that N2O gas had an inhibitory effect on gamma-motor neuron activity, which is presumed to be mediated to some extent through the higher central nervous system. This is the case because the gamma-motor neurons are generally activated by vibrating stimuli applied to the muscle causing decreased discrimination ability of mandibular position. Thus, we conclude that mandibular-position sensation was influenced by N2O gas during the administration of N2O gas.

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Accession: 046619997

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PMID: 10692837

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