How Sedation Fights Dental Anxiety
Do you feel slightly anxious when visiting the dentist, even when you are pretty sure your oral health is just fine? These feelings are perfectly natural and most people, if they are honest, will experience them, but won’t have any severe difficulties in comfortably receiving dental care. Certainly, here at McLoughlin Dental Care, we are extremely gentle when providing any dental treatment, even if it is just a simple checkup and hygiene appointment.
Dental Fear and Anxiety Is Common
Despite gentle dental care, we know some people experience a far greater degree of dental anxiety and fear, and some have deep-seated phobias that they might have fought for decades. For these people, the mere thought of even scheduling a dental appointment is unbearable and can be enough to induce anxiety. Unfortunately, without regular preventative dental care, dental problems can quickly develop, and this can make it even worse for people with dental anxieties. When you are unable to see a dentist regularly, small problems that are easily treatable can quickly develop into more extensive dental issues that may cause discomfort and pain, and which most likely require lengthier treatment to correct. This is when sedation dentistry can be extremely helpful.
Overcoming Your Dental Fear and Anxiety Could Be Easier Than You Imagine
If you have avoided essential dental care because of dental fear, we can help you. Instead of feeling anxious or nervous in the dental chair, imagine how much easier it would be to receive treatment if you felt relaxed and comfortable. Instead of dental treatment becoming overwhelming, you’ll know you have the tools to cope, and of course, our experienced and compassionate dental team are here to assist you. With dental sedation, you can comfortably receive the dental treatment you need without feeling anxious and stressed. One of the most widely used forms of dental sedation is nitrous oxide.
You may already know nitrous oxide by its other name which is laughing gas as it’s been extensively used in dentistry for over a hundred years and is extremely safe. Nitrous oxide is a slightly sweet-smelling gas that induces a state of conscious sedation. Conscious sedation means you will remain awake for the entire procedure, but you will feel so deeply relaxed and comfortable that you won’t mind receiving treatment. You will still be able to talk to us and to respond to our dental team but will most likely feel a sense of well-being while sedated. One of the lovely things about nitrous oxide is that its effects wear off very quickly once treatment is finished, and you won’t need anyone with you to take you home. This is the only form of conscious sedation where you can drive yourself home after treatment.
Can Anyone Have Nitrous Oxide Sedation?
Initially, the first step is to contact our dental office and to talk to our dental team. We are very easy to chat to and already have lots of experience in helping people who feel nervous or anxious about seeing us, so please don’t be embarrassed about your feelings! When we understand how you feel, we can work out how to assist you and will ensure any form of dental treatment is always given in a way that feels more comfortable for you. Also, if you are interested in nitrous oxide, we will need to assess your medical history, and we will want a complete list of all prescription and non-prescription medications. Although nitrous oxide is very safe, it’s not suitable for everyone for example if you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, are pregnant, or have been prescribed specific drugs, then it might not be the right choice for you. While we want to make sure you feel comfortable during treatment, your safety is always our top priority. During this appointment, we can discuss sedation dentistry with you more fully so you can learn exactly how it will assist you and a bit about how it will feel. The entire process is described in a little more detail below.
What is the Process for Receiving Nitrous Oxide?
Nitrous oxide is inhaled using a small mask that will fit comfortably over your nose. The gas is mixed with oxygen, and its administration is closely monitored during the entire treatment to keep you safe. It only takes a few moments for the gas to begin to take effect, and it’s common to experience a little tingling in your hands or feet or to feel perhaps as if you are floating. Above all, you should feel calm, comfortable and relaxed. We can adjust the dosage of nitrous oxide precisely to provide just the right level of sedation.
Once we are sure you are receiving the correct dosage, we can begin your dental treatment. Nitrous oxide isn’t an anesthetic as it’s an anxiolytic, meaning it makes anxiety disappear, so you may well need an anesthetic injection. The good news is that even if you fear needles, you won’t mind by this stage because you will feel so relaxed and comfortable. However, you will still be awake and aware of your surroundings, and you will still be in control. After your treatment is complete, we decrease the flow of nitrous oxide, and we may increase the amount of oxygen administered, and the gas is soon eliminated from your body. We will want you to rest in the dental chair for a few moments until you are completely okay to get up. Afterward, you should feel completely fine, and some people compare the experience as similar to having a couple of drinks, just without an unpleasant hangover!
Overcoming Dental Anxiety in the Longer Term
When you do receive sedation dentistry to help with anxiety, it can be useful in the longer term too. Of course, you can always choose to continue receiving sedation during dental visits, but you could find that once your oral health is restored that you feel able to visit us regularly, an don’t always need sedation. We work very hard to ensure every patient enjoys a positive and more comfortable experience at every visit. These repeated positive experiences can help to remove more deep-seated fears and anxieties gradually, so you begin to feel more comfortable seeing our dentist Dr. Donald Nimz for your checkups and hygiene appointments.
Are you trying to fight dental anxiety? Contact us and let our friendly dental team help you.