Lots of us have been under laughing gas while at the dentist. But do you know anything about its history and some of the first people to use it?
One of those people was Dr. Horace Wells, an American dentist who lived in the 1800s. Horace got his dental training in Boston before moving to Hartford, Connecticut, to open his own office in 1836.
He was successful and had a great reputation as a dentist before he witnessed the effects of nitrous oxide in 1844.
Horace and his wife attended a demonstration for the gas at Union Hall, where a shop clerk had his leg struck and cut multiple times while under the influence of nitrous oxide.
The clerk could not feel a thing while his leg was being injured but could still remember it happening, which fascinated those watching the demonstration – including Horace.
After seeing the demonstration, Horace decided to use nitrous oxide in his practice. He first used it on himself while his colleagues extracted one of his teeth.
Once he realized how well it worked, he began using it on his patients, primarily for tooth extractions.
Proud of his success with nitrous oxide, Horace decided to use it in a surgical demonstration for medical students at the Massachusetts General Hospital in 1845.
However, he didn’t administer the nitrous oxide properly, and the patient began crying out in pain.
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