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Drift Away: Nitrous Oxide for Dental Anxiety

By Steven Kail on February 23, 2015


A female dental patient showing off her beautiful smile after treatment with nitrous oxide for anxietyIf you are apprehensive about visiting the dentist, you are far from alone. Millions of Americans suffer from dental anxiety - in fact, it ranks alongside the fear of death and the fear of public speaking as one of the most common phobias among adults. This is why sedation dentist Steven Kail offers multiple forms of sedation to patients of Premier Dental Center. Sedation dentistry has enabled many people who would otherwise avoid the dentist to get the care they desperately need to restore their oral health and achieve the beautiful smiles they deserve.

At Premier Dental Center in Jackson, nitrous oxide for dental anxiety is one of the most popular of our sedation options. Nitrous oxide is a safe, time-tested form of dental sedation that allows our dentists to perform even complex procedures while patients drift pleasantly through their appointments, oblivious to the sights, sounds, and smells that they might otherwise find objectionable. If you suffer from dental anxiety, you might find that nitrous oxide represents an ideal solution to your dilemma, as it has for so many dental patients before you.

What is nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide is a colorless, non-flammable gas that smells and tastes somewhat sweet. It is popularly known as “laughing gas” because it induces a state of euphoria when it is inhaled. It has been used in dentistry for more than 150 years and is considered extremely safe when administered by a highly trained professional.

How does nitrous oxide work?

Nitrous oxide is administered via a mask in a concentration that is roughly 50 percent oxygen to 50 percent nitrous oxide. This ratio can be adjusted depending on the patient’s reaction to the nitrous oxide; however, at least 30 percent of the mixture must be oxygen for the patient’s safety.

One of the greatest benefits of nitrous oxide is that its sedative effects take hold very quickly, usually within a couple of minutes. While patients are under the effects of nitrous oxide, they will feel no pain. Their arms and legs may tingle or even feel heavy at first, but an overall feeling of warmth and euphoria will soon set in. At all times, patients are awake and able to respond to questions and other stimuli. The amount of nitrous oxide we administer does not generally send patients into a dream-like state.

Although the effects of nitrous oxide wear off very quickly, we generally recommend that patients arrange to have someone drive them to and from their appointments when they use any kind of sedation. We believe that it is better to err on the side of safety. Nevertheless, it is possible for most patients to resume their normal activities nearly immediately after undergoing dental treatment with nitrous oxide, which is not the case after treatment with oral conscious sedation. Nitrous oxide does not produce a “hangover” effect.

Learn More about Nitrous Oxide for Dental Anxiety

To learn more about nitrous oxide for dental anxiety, or to schedule your initial consultation at our practice, please contact Premier Dental Center today.

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