For many people, a trip to the dentist is much more than just a half hour appointment – it’s also a source of extreme anxiety. In many cases, a fear of the dentist can keep people from visiting the dentist even when they have a real tangible need. But this is dangerous, as it can allow time for what was once a small and easily treatable dental problem to turn into a major issue requiring a root canal or tooth extraction altogether.
Sedation dentistry was invented to help combat this problem. Sedation dentistry is the practice of using different methods to keep patients calm and stress-free while the dentist works. The skilled team at the cosmetic dentistry office Shreveport Bossier Dental is trained in using nitrous oxide as part of the sedation dentistry process.
What is Nitrous Oxide Sedation Dentistry?
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a colorless, odorless gas made of nitrogen and oxygen. At the turn of the nineteenth century, a scientist in the UK discovered that nitrous oxide could be used to dull pain by inducing feelings of warmth and pleasure – patients under the influence of nitrous oxide can be said to enter a dreamlike “twilight” state of sedation. Since the mid 1800s, dentists have used nitrous oxide to calm patients during a variety of procedures.
Most often, nitrous oxide is used in combination with a supplement of oxygen (N2O-O2) in order to protect against the hazard of hypoxia, a medical state that can occur if a patient is deprived of oxygen. You may have heard of this diluted nitrous oxide and oxygen combination referred to as “laughing gas,” due to the euphoric effects it can have on a patient.
How is Nitrous Oxide Used?
A nitrous oxide-oxygen combination is usually kept in canisters at a dentist’s office and can be administered to patients through a tube connected to a breathing mask. This allows your dentist and dental office staff to monitor and adjust the dosage of nitrous oxide more easily.
Nitrous oxide can be used to sedate a patient during routine procedures such as teeth cleaning and the placement of fillings, as well as slightly more complex cosmetic dentistry procedures such as scaling and root planing (“deep cleaning”). With that said, nitrous oxide is not used for all types of sedation dentistry. While the chemical compound is extremely effective at easing tension and anxiety, it is not actually a very effective painkiller in and of itself. For procedures such as oral surgery, a heavier anesthetic is needed.
What are the Benefits of Nitrous Oxide Sedation Dentistry?
There are several benefits to using nitrous oxide for sedation dentistry. Nitrous oxide is relatively safe for almost all patients, from children to the elderly. It also works extremely quickly – patients feel the effects of nitrous oxide within seconds – allowing dentists to get their patients finished, home, and on with their lives.
Contact Your Sedation Dentistry Specialist Today
Don’t let anxiety or fear keep you out of the dentist’s chair – with the sedation dentistry techniques employed at Shreveport Bossier Dental, your appointment can fly past in what seems like the blink of an eye while you get the attentive and personalized dental care you need. Contact Shreveport Bossier Dental to schedule an appointment today.