If you have dental anxiety, or have a fear of the procedures that you believe you’ll need once you come to visit us, nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” could be the answer that you’ve been looking for.
What is Nitrous Oxide Sedation?
Nitrous oxide is a safe sedative agent that is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a mask that is placed over the patient’s nose. The resulting gas is inhaled and causes relation.
Nitrous oxide, also called laughing gas is not a form of general sedation as it doesn’t put the patient to sleep. The patient remains fully conscious and responsive, being able to hear and clearly speak. He or she is simply relaxed.
How Does Nitrous Oxide Work?
As mentioned above, the nitrous oxide is administered through a mask placed over the patient’s nose. The dentist will ask the patient to breath normally and in a few minutes the patient will experience some of the effects of the nitrous oxide. The most common effects of nitrous oxide sedation include minor light-headedness, tingling of the arms and legs and heavy-feeling arms and legs. These side-effects quickly go away as the nitrous oxide wears off.
The nitrous oxide will wear off on its own and the patient will feel like their normal self immediately.
The Benefits of Nitrous Oxide
Sometimes patients fear being sedated thinking something will go wrong while they are asleep. With nitrous oxide, the fears are not there because it doesn’t put the patient to sleep. It merely relaxes the patient. Nitrous oxide is one of the safest and least intrusive form of dental sedation, making it safe for a wide range of patients.
The nitrous oxide gas wears off quickly and the dentists has control over how much is safely administered.
Nitrous oxide is easy to administer. Mild dental sedation can be done through having patients ingest a pill sedative or have a dissolvable sedative placed under the patient’s tongue. These two alternative dental sedation forms may not be best for children who have a hard time swallowing pills or waiting for the sedative to fully dissolve in the mouth.
Nitrous oxide takes effect within minutes and doesn’t require any prep work on the part of the patient like more intense forms of sedation.
Nitrous oxide is one of the cheaper and most readily available form of dental sedation. General sedation and IV sedation are more expensive and are not available at all dental offices. For patients who have anxiety about going to the dentist and need a simple teeth cleaning or minor dental procedure such as a crown, nitrous oxide is the best option.
There is little or no needed recovery time or after-effects. After the nitrous oxide wears off, the patient won’t feel groggy, sleepy or in any pain or discomfort. They will be able to walk out of the dentist office feeling the same as when they arrived. With nitrous oxide sedation, the patient doesn’t need to wait for the sedative to wear off. He or she can quickly get back to their day.
Who is the Best Candidate for Nitrous Oxide Sedation?
The safety, ease of administration, cost and lack of invasiveness of nitrous oxide sedation makes it safe for patients of all ages, conditions and level of anxiety.
Forms of Mild Sedation
Nitrous oxide is one of the options for minimal or mild sedation. The other is oral sedation.
Nitrous oxide (classified as inhaled minimum sedation), is the lowest, least intense form of dental sedation. It is the only form of sedation where a patient can safely drive his or her car afterwards.
A step up from nitrous oxide, or minimum sedation is moderate sedation, sometimes called oral sedation. Often with moderate dental sedation, a pill is ingested by the patient an hour before his or her dental procedure. The sedative used for this type of sedation is Halcion. Under moderate sedation, the patient remains awake, but will feel drowsy. The dentist can increase the dosage if stronger sedation is needed. When a stronger dosage is administered, the patient may be groggy enough to fall asleep. They can, however, be easily awakened.
At Lincoln Dental Associates, we provide a relaxing, calm and pleasant dental office experience for patients who have a fear of the dentist. We want the best dental health for each patient and encourage patients to not allow their fear of the dentist to put their oral health at risk.
If you’ve refused to visit the dentist because of fear, contact us today to learn more about our nitrous oxide sedation dentistry and how it can help you.