Like many people, you might be anxious when it comes to visiting the dentist. Perhaps you had a bad experience as a child or you simply don’t care for the sights, sounds, and smells that come along with visiting the dentist.
Regardless of the reason, your anxiety might be causing you to put off trips to the dentist and you may not be getting the regular preventive care you need. You might even be ignoring a problem, in hopes that it will go away. The truth is, however, you need good oral care to protect your overall well-being.
At Summit Dental, we are used to working with patients who have dental anxiety. We have found for many of them, sedation dentistry in the form of nitrous oxide is an excellent option for calming those dental fears.
What Is Nitrous Oxide?
Often referred to as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is a colorless, odorless, irritant-less gas you simply breathe in. It earned its nickname because of the feeling of euphoria it sometimes provides to those who use it. It is ideal for dental situations because it works instantly and wears off just as quickly, so patients return to their normal state almost immediately. Patients are nearly euphoric during their treatment, but able to drive themselves home afterward.
Nitrous oxide works very quickly, reaching the brain within about 20 seconds. Its relaxation and pain-numbing properties reach the brain after just two or three minutes. Another advantage to nitrous oxide is that there’s no “hangover” effect. Within three to five minutes of cutting off the gas supply, the gas is eliminated from the body. There are minimal side effects with nitrous, and it is completely safe.
How Is Nitrous Oxide Administered?
Nitrous oxide is delivered to the patient through a tube to which a nasal hood is attached. Much like using an oxygen mask, patients simply breathe in through their nose and they receive the flow of gases.
What Are the Advantages to Nitrous Oxide?
Patients are pleasantly surprised to learn that no injection is required for this type of anesthesia, but laughing gas puts them into a very relaxed state if a needle is required for their treatment. Most patients who have a very sensitive gag reflex find that using nitrous minimizes this reaction. No one can be allergic to nitrous, and it is safe to use on patients with health conditions, including diabetes, cerebrovascular disease, liver disease, epilepsy, or heart disease.
People who worry they might “lose control” or feel nauseous while being under should know that both effects are extremely rare. We monitor the flow of gases very carefully to ensure there is no risk of “oversedation.” Because it is breathed in through the nose, it might not be suitable if you have a cold or another condition that prevents you from breathing through your nose.
Learn More About Nitrous Oxide
Don’t let fear and anxiety keep you from getting the dental care you need. Find out how enjoyable your trip to the dentist can be with this type of sedation dentistry.