Sedation dentistry utilizes different levels of sedation to help dental patients relax, and to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and discomfort during complex dental treatments. Dental anxiety and fear prevents a large percentage of the population from seeking dental care, attending regular dental visits, and ultimately can severely impact oral health and wellbeing.
With the use of gentle sedation, such as nitrous oxide and oxygen – also known as laughing gas – patients are able to overcome their initial anxiety. The benefits of nitrous oxide are wide-ranging. They include:
- Efficacy – Nitrous works well for patients who suffer from mild to moderate dental anxiety.
- Rapid Onset – It is almost immediately effective and patients quickly enter a relaxed state.
- Flexibility – Nitrous sedation can be used for all kinds of treatments, regardless of the length of time it takes to complete the appointment. It is also easy for dental professionals to control the level of sedation, which can be adjusted moment to moment, according to the patient’s needs.
- Recovery – Patients using nitrous will recover quickly enough to drive themselves home from their appointment. Pure oxygen is used to flush nitrous out of the patient’s system and they may return to normal activities almost immediately, including drive themselves home from the appointment.
Benefits of Nitrous Sedation
Nitrous sedation removes the barrier of fear that prevents patients from getting much needed preventative dental care. Patients who, through the use of nitrous, can attend regular dental treatments are more likely to avoid dental issues, such as gum disease and tooth decay.
Disease and bacteria from the mouth can spread to other parts of the body, or progress aggressively causing damage to the mouth and mouth structure, as well as unnecessary trauma and discomfort. This means regular preventative dental cleanings and establishing good dental hygiene habits are vital to oral wellness and overall health.
Dental problems such as gum disease and tooth decay have been linked to such health conditions as diabetes, stroke and heart failure, and when people avoid dental treatment due to anxiety, they leave themselves open to other health complications. With the help of sedation dentistry, including nitrous, patients receive the necessary dental care to optimize their oral and overall health.
However, nitrous sedation is not for everyone – patients with severe anxiety, for example, may need a deeper level of sedation. Dentists also advise patients with respiratory issues, or who suffer from claustrophobia, to look at alternative solutions.