If you experience dental anxiety when you see your dentist, you are not alone. Dental anxiety can stem from a variety of reasons, including fear of pain, fear of helplessness and loss of control, and even embarrassment from having someone in your personal space (the physical closeness to your face). This can all leave you feeling vulnerable. To help with this discomfort, and to help you relax, nitrous oxide may be used during treatment.
Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is a clear, odorless gas mixed with oxygen that you breathe in to experience the sedative effects. Dentists have been using this analgesic for over 150 years to help their patients during a procedure. It kills pain and makes the patient feel good. After approximately five minutes of breathing, you should feel a euphoric feeling as your body relaxes. You may feel light-headed and for some people, you may get the giggles (that is where the term laughing gas came from).
Nitrous oxide is not meant to put you to sleep, so you will still be able to hear and respond to your dental team during a procedure, while feeling calm and relaxed and comfortable. So what can you expect to happen? You will first experience a tingling sensation in your body, especially in the limbs, or a vibration, followed by a feeling of warmth, well-being, euphoria and even floating. Since this gas is administered by mask, if you feel anything unpleasant you can remove the mask or just let your dentist know so that the dosage of nitrous oxide can be adjusted.
Don’t let dental anxiety prevent you from getting the treatment you need. It is safe for most patients, including children. While you are under the treatment your blood pressure, heart rate and breathing is monitored. To find out more about nitrous oxide and if it is right for you, you can contact our Bright Dental Care team in Bakersfield, California by calling 661.588.2772 today!