Sedation Dentistry: Experience Anxiety-Free Dentistry

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Perhaps you’ve heard your friends or other patients in the office talk about the benefits of nitrous oxide (N202) or “laughing gas.” It may be an option for you during your next dental procedure.  We also offer IV sedation. Depending on the patient, we will help you decide which form of sedation dentistry is right for you during your visit at our North Tonawanda dentist office. Here are some important facts that you should review first.

What Is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide is a non-allergenic, non-irritating gas that affects the central nervous system. It’s one of the safest forms of sedation available and patients who have used it report very few, if any, side effects. If you’re like most patients, you’ll begin to feel the nitrous oxide take effect within 3-5 minutes. Following treatment the effects of this gas are completely reversed within 3-5 minutes, simply by breathing normally. In fact, you will be able to safely drive home or to work following your appointment. The gas is delivered by a small mask over the nose.

What Are The Benefits Of Having Nitrous Oxide During Dental Treatment?

There are many. Following are the most common ones:

  • Nitrous oxide can make you feel more comfortable during your appointment.
  • You remain conscious and are fully aware during treatment.
  • The depth of sedation can be varied throughout your treatment as required.
  • Your gag reflex and flow of saliva are somewhat decreased.
  • Nitrous oxide can reduce the discomfort or anxiety associated with an injection of local anesthesia; in some cases (particularly with small children) it takes the place of an injection all together.
  • Most importantly, it helps to eliminate fear and reduces anxiety by helping you relax.
Who Can Have Nitrous Oxide?

Nearly all patients. There are practically no side effects associated with nitrous oxide use. Occasionally, however, asthmatic patients or those suffering from severe bronchitis or other known lung disorders may elect not to use it. Ultimately, this is a decision best made by you and your dentist. Make sure you report any changes in your medical history to your dentist prior to using nitrous oxide.

How Is Nitrous Oxide Administered?

A soft rubber hood is placed over your nose. This hood is attached to equipment that regulates the amount of nitrogen and oxygen you receive. You simply breathe in and out through your nose as you would normally breathe. Toward the completion of your treatment, the nitrous will gradually be replaced with 100% oxygen, so that by the time you’re ready to be dismissed, you will feel completely normal again.

How Does Nitrous Oxide Feel?

Individual patients experience its effects differently. Generally, as the depth of sedation increases, you will experience the following sensations:

  • tingling of your hands and feet
  • warmth
  • numbness in your legs
  • numbness of your hands, feet, tongue and other soft tissues of your mouth
  • a ringing sensation or droning sound; your hearing may become distant, but more distinct
  • feelings of euphoria
  • feelings of heaviness or lightness in your extremities

You should not experience giddiness, fall asleep, or become nauseous. If any of these symptoms occur while breathing nitrous oxide, immediately inform us.

What If I Don’t Like The Feeling?

If you feel uncomfortable or uneasy at any time while breathing nitrous oxide, you can discontinue it at once by simply breathing deeply through your mouth. Any temporary discomfort will be eliminated with a few breaths. Please tell us if you should feel any discomfort so we can adjust the amount of gas being delivered.

What If I’m Pregnant?

Nitrous oxide is the most commonly recommended sedation technique for expectant patients. Although it does cross the placenta, it is not metabolized by the body. Therefore, it has no effect on most organ systems and is removed from the body in a short period of time. If you have any further concerns about taking nitrous oxide while you are pregnant, you may wish to consult with your obstetrician prior to treatment in this office.

What Should I Do Before Taking Nitrous Oxide?

Discuss any questions or concerns about the sedation with us. Inform us of any changes in your medical history, or any medications you are presently taking. We generally recommend that you avoid eating a large meal prior to treatment and that you use the restroom before your procedure. The less you talk or breathe through your mouth during your treatment, the faster and more efficiently the gas works.

A Final Word on Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide is a safe, reversible adjunct to help you relax during treatment. You remain conscious and “in control” throughout the procedure. Simply relax and breathe deeply through your nose. It’s just that easy.

IV Sedation

In addition to Nitrous Oxide, we also offer Intravenous Conscious Sedation (IV sedation) for patients needing sedation dentistry. This type of sedation gives similar effects such as making the patient feel less anxiety and feel relaxed and sleepy. However, it is given to the patient through a syringe to the vein. As opposed to taking a pill, IV sedation effects are felt almost immediately. Your dentist can also adjust how much sedation you are given to give you the perfect amount needed every time. It’s common for patients to fall asleep during their procedure and will need to find someone to give them a ride home from their appointment because the effects won’t be worn off yet. Talk to your dentist to find out if IV sedation is the right choice for you. Patients who are pregnant, have an allergy to benzodiazepines, or suffer from sleep apnea may not be good candidates for IV sedation.

Contact Wheatfield Family Dentistry for Sedation Dentistry

If you have a hard time sitting still at the dentist, or commonly experience dental anxiety, or fear of the dentist, talk to our dentists at Wheatfield Family Dentistry about our sedation dentistry options. Sedation dentistry will permit you to sit through your appointment feeling relaxed, allowing you to have all your procedures done without any stress. Contact our North Tonawanda dentists by calling 716-694-1777 or filling out our online contact form.