For many patients, dental appointments stir up intense anxiety. Whether you are anxious about a routine visit or your child cannot sit still for a complex procedure, uneasiness about dental procedures can cause patients to neglect important oral health care. At Natomas Crossing Dental Care, we not only want to help our patients keep their appointments but also feel comfortable and relaxed in the dental chair.
To help nervous patients achieve a relaxing experience, we offer dental inhalation sedation, the most common type of conscious sedation used to help patients remain calm during visits.
What Is Inhalation Sedation?
Inhalation sedation uses nitrous oxide — commonly known as laughing gas — to help patients obtain minimal to moderate sedation during a dental procedure. Nitrous oxide is a safe, non-irritating gas that, when combined with oxygen, helps reduce stress and anxiety during dental procedures. Because laughing gas is odorless, colorless and tasteless, it is not unpleasant for patients to use.
Administering nitrous dental sedation is a straightforward procedure that requires a trained professional and an approved sedation unit. The laughing gas is administered by breathing it through a special mask that fits over your nose. The gas reaches the brain quickly to induce a state of relaxation just minutes after you begin breathing it. While fully relaxed, you will still be fully conscious, cognizant of your surroundings and alert enough to communicate with your dentist during the procedure. This signifies that the ideal level of clinical sedation has been achieved. At this point, local anesthetic can be given and the dental procedure can be completed.
Unlike other types of sedation dentistry, such as oral sedation, the level of sedation with nitrous oxide dental sedation can be adjusted by the dentist depending on the type and length of the procedure. Another benefit of inhalation sedation is that the effects of the laughing gas are not long-lasting. Once the nitrous oxide is terminated, the patient receives 100% pure oxygen until there are no existing clinical signs of sedation. Once the mask is removed, the effects wear off within minutes. In fact, inhalation sedation is the only form of sedation where patients are permitted to drive themselves home and resume normal activities following the procedure.
Conscious oral sedation is another popular form of sedation dentistry. It comes in pill form, but unlike dental gas sedation, oral sedative levels cannot be easily adjusted and have delayed acting and recovery times.
Is Inhalation Sedation Right for You or Your Child?
Most adults and children are good candidates for inhalation sedation, particularly patients who are in good health and experience anxiety about dental visits. However, for more complex procedures or severe dental phobia another form of sedation, such as oral conscious sedation, may be a better option.
Individuals respond differently to the effects of laughing gas. In general, patients can expect to experience feelings of euphoria throughout the body, tingling of the hands and feet, drowsiness, and feelings of heaviness or lightness in the extremities as the nitrous oxide is administered. These sensations diminish quickly when the gas is removed and the procedure is complete.
This form of sedation may also be beneficial for patients who have:
- a need for extensive dental treatment
- sensitive teeth
- a strong gag reflex that impedes dental care
- a fear of needles
- difficulty sitting still for long periods of time
Frequently Asked Questions
- Will I be unconscious while sedated?
Patients are in a deep state of relaxation while sedated, not unconscious. During the procedure, patients can breathe on their own and respond to questions from the doctor. As an added benefit, most patients have no memory of the procedure when it is completed.
- Are there long-term side effects from sedation?
Most patients report feeling completely normal within a few hours following treatment. It is normal to feel slightly groggy immediately following your procedure, but most side effects subside quickly.
- Is sedation covered by insurance?
Although most dental insurance plans do not cover sedation dentistry, talk to your dentist about payment plans. Most dentists are happy to work with patients prior to a procedure and can assist in setting up a financing plan if necessary.
Where to Find Dentists That Use Nitrous Oxide Near Me
If you experience anxiety before visiting the dentist, you are not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from “dental phobia,” which prevents them from receiving necessary dental work. Fortunately, individuals who need extra help overcoming dental fear can take advantage of inhalation sedation at our Sacramento practice.
Remember, your oral health depends on regular, timely care. Putting off necessary procedures will only increase your oral health risks and set you up for further problems. For patients who are afraid of the dentist or experience severe anxiety about procedures, inhalation sedation is an excellent way to calm your nerves during treatment. In addition to inhalation sedation, we also offer oral conscious sedation in Sacramento — a highly effective technique for reducing dental anxiety. Contact Natomas Crossing Dental Care today to discuss the best option for you at 916-928-9999.