Nitrous Oxide May Help Relieve Your Dental Phobia

If you have anxiety associated with going to the dentist, don't let that stop you from getting regular dental care. Instead, talk to your dentist about nitrous oxide. This is a light form of sedation that takes the edge off your anxiety and helps with pain. Here is some more information about nitrous oxide, which is also known as laughing gas.

How It's Delivered

Nitrous oxide is inhaled through an oxygen mask that fits over your nose. This makes it a great choice if you also have a fear of needles. Your dentist may be able to avoid an anesthetic injection for some procedures when you use nitrous oxide. For those that require an injection, using nitrous oxide first will make taking it easier to endure. The dentist controls the amount of nitrous oxide you receive throughout your treatment by adjusting a knob. When it's turned on, you'll feel the effects within a few minutes. When it's turned off, the effects wear off fast.

How It Makes You Feel

Nitrous oxide can make you feel happy and giddy. That's how it earned the name laughing gas. It elevates your mood so your anxiety is reduced. You'll also feel physical effects in your body. You may feel numbness and tingling. Your arms may feel heavy. However, you won't be put to sleep. You'll be fully awake and alert while you are under the effects of the gas. Nitrous oxide is classified as a mild form of sedation dentistry because it doesn't cause you to become groggy or sleepy. Therefore, if you fear nitrous oxide because you've heard it's a form of sedation dentistry, you don't have to worry that you'll be put to sleep by taking it. Nitrous oxide is the only type of sedation you can take at the dentist's office and still drive yourself home afterward because it wears off so quickly.

When It Is Used

Nitrous oxide has been used in dentistry for many years. It is safe enough to be used on kids. The decision to use it will be up to you and your dentist. If you can't tolerate any kind of dental work without extreme anxiety, your dentist may even offer the sedation gas when you have your teeth cleaned. However, if it is pain that bothers you most, the dentist may keep it on standby and only use it if you still have pain after your anesthetic injection. Since it goes to work so fast, it can be applied at any time during your procedure and you'll feel the effect within minutes.

Nitrous oxide could be the solution for your dental phobia. Talk to your dentist to see if it's right for you. Just be aware, your dental insurance may not cover the cost, so be sure to ask about how to pay for it too. Even if you pay out of pocket, the expense is worth it if it gets you in the dental office regularly for care and cleaning. Dentists like Carpenter Dental can help.