For many, however, old fears are hard to break free from. In fact, it’s thought that up to 50% of the population routinely avoids going to the dentist because of fears or anxiety, often related to bad experiences in their past.
If you suffer from anxiety over visiting the dentist, talk to us. We understand and we have several sedation options to make your visit less stressful so you can get the dental care you need.
How Nitrous Oxide Works
What we call nitrous oxide is a mixture of 30% nitrous oxide and 70% oxygen. This means while you’re breathing it in, you’ll actually receive more oxygen than when you’re breathing regular air. As the gas is inhaled, it passes into your bloodstream and travels to your brain where it interacts with your neural receptors. Most patients report feeling relaxed, happy, and comfortable when they are given nitrous oxide.
Unlike other forms of sedation, which typically involve IV needles or pills, nitrous oxide requires nothing more than wearing a mask during your dental appointment. The mask is small and comfortable and only goes over your nose. Most patients report feeling the calming effects in under a minute — and the anesthetic properties of nitrous oxide usually set in after two or three minutes.
What is Receiving Nitrous Oxide Like?
Patients who receive nitrous oxide typically report feeling warm and relaxed; some report a “floaty” feeling or overall sense of well-being. Some patients experience slight tingling in their arms and legs during their treatment.
Heavier levels of nitrous can reduce your sense of hearing, which can be helpful for patients who have a difficult time listening to dental drills and other equipment noises. For some patients, it even decreases the gag reflex, making it easier for Dr. Patel to complete your treatment. A very few patients feel nauseous during nitrous oxide administration – if this happens, just tell us and we will decrease the amount or turn it off.
For patients who don’t respond well to nitrous oxide, or prefer another method of sedation, oral sedation is another way to reduce your anxiety and relax you without putting you to sleep.
Sedation dentistry provides relief for dental anxiety & phobias
Dynamic Smile Design is experienced in providing sedation options for our patients
Patients typically feel more relaxed about the procedure, both before and during
There are different types of sedation dentistry, our staff will go over all of the options during your consultation
How Oral Sedation Works
Dr. Patel is qualified to offer a variety of oral medications which can be taken upon your arrival in our office and adjusted throughout the appointment if needed. Each type of medication has a slightly different effect. Dr. Patel will decide which medication is best depending on a variety of factors, including the wishes and needs of the patient, the patient’s medical history, and any medications the patient is already on.
- Amnesic Agents – Many dental patients prefer to have no recollection of their dental procedures, which is entirely understandable. These patients have several different options, including diazepam or triazolam for shorter visits, or Valium combined with Halcion for longer appointments.
- Reducing Anxiety – Highly effective sedatives designed for short or longer dental procedures are also available without amnesic properties. These agents include Ativan, Vistaril, and other antihistamines.
- Relaxation and Rest – Without putting you to sleep, there are sedatives that leave patients feeling very rested and comfortable in any environment. Halcion and Sonata are examples of agents with sedative properties and can be used with antihistamines if deemed appropriate by Dr. Patel.
What is Receiving Oral Sedation Like?
Patients who receive oral sedation report feeling relaxed; drowsy but not enough to fall asleep; slightly lightheaded; or simply carefree and unconcerned. Oral sedation can also dull the noise of the dental tools, and relax the jaw while minimizing gag reflex.
Oral sedation can be perfect for patients who:
- Have severe dental anxiety or fears
- Have put off dental care for years because of their anxiety
- Would like their treatment to be completed in as few appointments as possible
- Have neck or back injuries, jaw soreness or pain, or a severe gag reflex
- Have high resistance to standard local anesthetics
After your Appointment
Nitrous oxide is almost completely eliminated from the body within 3 to 5 minutes after the gas stops flowing. There is no hangover effect, which means you won’t have to worry about feeling unwell after your appointment or stop doing normal activities. We’ll make sure you are comfortable until you feel fully alert, and then you can drive yourself home.
Oral sedation remains in your body longer, and may require you to bring someone with you to your appointment to ensure you are safely driven home. Ask Dr. Patel about your sedation options and potential side effects, and plan ahead for appointments when oral sedation will be administered.
If you have any questions about your sedation options, don’t hesitate to contact us and ask for more information.