Nitrous Oxide is a tasteless, odorless gas used by our dentist as a local sedation method. The gas is mixed with oxygen and administered to the patient through a small mask placed over the patient’s nose. After breathing the gas in for a few minutes, the patient experiences a pleasant, relaxing feeling and may, even, drift off to sleep as the dentist works to complete the procedure.
Some of the benefits of nitrous oxide are that the gas works quickly, breathing the gas is painless, and the medication is easy to administer. Often referred to as ‘laughing gas,’ nitrous oxide can be an excellent choice to reduce anxiety and pain during a dental procedure. Discuss this and other sedation techniques with your dentist to determine which approach is right for you.
Following the procedure and after the nitrous oxide is turned off, the patient needs to receive oxygen for at least five minutes. Breathing oxygen purges the laughing gas from the patient’s system and helps the patients become fully awake and alert. Nitrous oxide has been used extensively and has few side effects. However, in a few cases, patients may experience headaches, nausea, fatigue, or excessive sweating. Your dentist will monitor your condition and comfort levels during and after the procedure.
If minimal to moderate sedation is required, then oral sedation may be selected by the dentist. This approach involves using an oral medication taken either before coming to the dentist office or on arrival. In about an hour, the patient feels the sedation effect.
Oral sedation is commonly used with children undergoing dental treatment, and who are anxious. The oral medication is given to the child in a liquid form upon arrival at the dental office. For adults, a tablet form of the sedation drug is taken about an hour before the beginning of the appointment. This medication causes the patient to become groggy but not fall asleep. Once in the dentist chair, however, patients often do fall asleep. If a patient does fall asleep, he can be awakened by a gentle shake. This method of sedation is what is often associated with the term ‘sedation dentistry.’
Children are often given oral sedation, but the medication is usually taken as soon as the patient arrives at the dentist’s office. Usual 20 minutes is allowed for the medication to take effect, so there is a short waiting period after beginning sedation. It’s important in the case of children that a parent explains the procedure in advance and accompanies the child during the procedure. It’s also a good idea to not bring along other children who can be a distraction.
According to the Colgate Oral Care website, ‘Sedating a patient is normally a very safe procedure.’ Talk with the dentist at Village Park Dental Center about sedation options for you or your children, especially if they exhibit nervousness or anxiety about coming to the dentist office. The benefits of sedation most often outweigh the disadvantages, and sedation often makes sitting in the dentist’s chair much less frightening for your child. Call us today, 281-376-4444.