Here at Amberwood Dental Centre, we understand that many people experience anxiety or fear surrounding dental procedures. This is especially true for children who may be getting a cavity filled for the first time, or people with a fear of needles or a history of traumatic dental procedures in the past. Trying to deal with this level of anxiety can make even a short, simple procedure into a grueling ordeal for the patient. To help alleviate this anxiety and make the filling, tooth pulling, or other procedure go as smoothly as possible, it’s common for dentists to administer nitrous oxide, also commonly known as laughing gas. In this article, we’ll go over some of the reasons that nitrous oxide works to help you decide whether it’s right for you.
Nitrous oxide has been used in medicine for the past 100 years as a safe, effective method of conscious sedation. The gas is mixed with oxygen, and the mixture is then inhaled through a comfortable mask that fits over the nose. Breathing it in induces a feeling of calm, and it’s common to experience a mild floating sensation or some tingling in the hands and feet. Nitrous oxide is classified as an anxiolytic, which means that it reduces feelings of anxiety. Once your dose has kicked in, our dentists here at Amberwood Dental Centre can administer the local anesthetic and begin your procedure—you may still feel a prick, but the gas will make it so that you don’t mind. You’ll still be aware of your surroundings and able to speak, but you’ll be able to get through the appointment without being troubled by the anxiety or fear you may have experienced in the past.
Once your procedure is complete, our team at Amberwood Dental Centre will decrease the flow of nitrous oxide to zero while increasing the oxygen. After a few moments of adjustment, you’ll be able to stand up and resume normal activities—you’ll even be able to drive yourself home. If you want to increase your comfort during your next dental procedure without worrying about a potential “hangover,” nitrous oxide may be right for you.