Conscious sedation with nitrous oxide helps ease people’s anxiety with the dentist, and makes the trip much less stressful. Our laser dentistry offers it to patients who need something extra to help them through the treatment.
Nitrous oxide, a colorless gas with a slightly sweet odor, has been used in medicine for about a century. It’s a safe and effective method of administering conscious sedation—which means that you’ll stay awake during the procedure. But when nitrous oxide is used in combination with a local anesthetic, you won’t feel pain or anxiety. In fact, many patients report a feeling of well-being during this type of sedation.
How Is Nitrous Oxide Administered?
As a form of conscious sedation, nitrous oxide is inhaled through a small mask that fits comfortably over your nose. The gas is mixed with oxygen as it is being delivered, and both gases are always kept at a level that is safe for the body. In just a few minutes, you may start to experience a floating sensation, and perhaps some tingling in the hands and feet. That’s a sign that the sedation is working. Once it has been verified that you’re calm and comfortable, and that the dose is correct, your dental procedure can begin.
Nitrous oxide itself isn’t a substitute for a local anesthetic—it’s considered an anxiolytic, anti-anxiety medication. For some procedures, you may still need an anesthetic injection. You’ll be able to speak, be aware of what’s going on, and stay in control during the procedure. In fact, the dose can be fine-tuned to just the level of sedation you need.
When the procedure is over, the flow of nitrous oxide is decreased to zero, and the oxygen may be increased. The effects will wear off in a few moments.
Who Can Benefit From Nitrous Oxide?
Most people whose anxiety would otherwise keep them out of the dental chair can benefit from conscious sedation with nitrous oxide. Before beginning treatment, we will take a complete medical history, including your use of both prescription and non-prescription medications. If you are pregnant, have COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) or some other pulmonary diseases, or are taking certain drugs, this dental treatment may not be the best option.
However, if you feel that you would benefit from a more stress-free experience in the dental office, ask about nitrous oxide conscious sedation.
In need of a local dentist office? Give Smiles by Dr. Santos a call today!