Everyone experiences fear at some point in their lives. There are some fears for which avoidance is a perfectly reasonable reaction. But there are certain fears for which avoidance can lead to a decrease in quality of life, or even worse, can endanger your health.
Each year, millions of Americans avoid the dentist. It is estimated that 75 million people in the United States live with some degree of dental fear. Some have had traumatic experiences as children. Others have had unpleasant experiences as adults. When faced with the warning signs of pain and decay, these individuals steer clear of the dentist.
We understand that for far too many people, dental fear and anxiety complicates the need for essential treatment. With sedation dentistry, patients can now safely receive anesthesia for a wide range of dental procedures. Because patients are sedated, often it allows Dr. Feins, Dr. Shao or Dr. Fraser to complete all the necessary dental treatment in one visit.
IV SEDATION DENTISTRY
IV sedation is often referred to as sleep dentistry. However, this is not the case. IV sedation induces a state of deep relaxation and a feeling of not being bothered by what’s going on. You will remain conscious during IV sedation. You will be able to understand and respond to any requests from your dentist.
IV sedation is perfect for those with dental anxiety because of the beneficial side effects that accompany this type of sedative. This process produces partial or even full memory loss (amnesia of the dental experience) in the patient. Sedation dentistry will give you a peaceful feeling.
Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)
Nitrous oxide is a sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which you can breathe.
Nitrous oxide has been the the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. Nitrous oxide is safe, the patient receives 50-70% oxygen with no less than 30% nitrous oxide.
The patient is able to breathe on their own and remain in control of all bodily functions.
The patient may experience mild amnesia and may fall asleep, not remembering all of what happened during their appointment.
There are many advantages to using nitrous oxide:
- The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation.
- There is no after effect such as a “hangover”
- Inhalation sedation is safe with no side effects on your heart and lungs, etc.
- Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging.
- It works rapidly as it reaches the brain within 20 seconds. In as little as 2-to-3 minutes, its relaxation and pain killing properties develop.
Reasons to not use nitrous oxide
You should not utilize nitrous oxide if you have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Though there are no other major contraindications to using nitrous oxide, you may not want to use it if you have emphysema, exotic chest problems, MS, a cold, or other difficulties with breathing.
You may want to ask your dentist for a “5 minute trial” to see how you feel with this type of sedation method before proceeding.