Most dental appointments are fairly uneventful. Regular checkups and professional cleanings are not only smooth but also allow us to monitor your oral health and reduce your risk of future problems. Still, some people have fear or anxiety that prevents them from receiving the dental care they need. At LakeView Dental Arts, we offer sedation dentistry to help our patients relax. Sedation dentistry involves the use of medication, like nitrous oxide, to provide a more comfortable experience.
Types of Sedation
There are four levels of sedation: minimal, moderate, deep, and general anesthesia. The type of sedation you receive depends on your circumstance. Extensive and invasive procedures usually require stronger sedation, such as IV sedation or general anesthesia. For less invasive procedures we may recommend oral sedation or nitrous oxide. Oral sedation usually comes in the form of a pill or liquid. This includes medications like Halcion and Valium.
Nitrous oxide, a colorless and odorless substance otherwise known as “laughing gas,” is a form of inhaled minimal sedation that produces feelings of euphoria and helps you to relax. The gas is combined with oxygen through a mask that is placed over your nose. This allows Dr. Walmsley to closely monitor and control the amount of sedation you receive. The gas also has a short half-life, meaning the effects usually wear off shortly after we stop administering the gas. This allows you to drive yourself home after a procedure. Nitrous oxide is the only form of sedation that allows patients to fully return to their daily routine following a procedure. For these reasons and more, nitrous oxide is the most common type of sedation.
Safety and Nitrous Oxide
Nitrous oxide is one of the safest forms of sedation, for both children and adults. Not only that, but it is the preferred method of sedation for children. The gas can eliminate your child’s nervousness or anxiousness about a particular procedure, without the use of pills, liquids, or needles.
Although they are rare, some side effects of nitrous oxide do occur. Be sure to voice any concerns if you experience, headaches, shivering, excessive sweating, and nausea. To avoid these side effects, we usually administer oxygen for at least five minutes after the gas has been turned off.
We usually advise patients to eat lighter meals before their appointments. This reduces the risk of nausea and vomiting. We also ask that you avoid heavy foods for the first three hours after your appointment.
Do You Qualify for Nitrous Oxide?
Sedation is usually reserved for patients with severe dental phobias or anxiety. We may also recommend sedation if you have a low pain threshold, sensitive teeth, a strong gag reflex, or need extensive procedures.
In some instances, nitrous oxide may not be the right choice for you. Patients who have a history of drug addiction, emotional abuse, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may not qualify for sedation. Talk with Dr. Walmsley to learn more about your sedation options.
Schedule an Appointment
Don’t neglect your oral health! Call (865) 248-2199 to schedule your appointment today.