If you are anxious about going to the dentist, you might be considering sedation dentistry to make your dental visits more comfortable and convenient. There are many options for sedation to choose from, and finding the right one for you is essential to getting the best experience from your sedation dentistry experience. In general, oral sedation is better for people with higher levels of anxiety, though nitrous oxide may be better for people with mild anxiety but difficulty getting numb.
The best way to learn which approach to sedation dentistry is right for you is to talk to a sedation dentist. To schedule an appointment with a sedation dentist in the Orlando area, please call (407) 834-6446 for an appointment at the office of Michael W. Weinstock in Altamonte Springs.
How Nitrous Oxide Works
Nitrous oxide is an inhaled sedative. It is one of the first medications used for pain and anxiety relief in dentistry. For nitrous oxide sedation, a hood will be placed over your nose. A mix of nitrous oxide and oxygen is supplied to you through the mask. As long as you breathe through your nose, you will continue to receive the medication and will remain sedated.
Nitrous oxide creates a feeling of euphoria in many people, which is why it gets its secondary name, laughing gas. This type of sedation is very safe because patients are supplied with oxygen as well as nitrous oxide and the sedative doesn’t interfere with most body functions. You will remain fully conscious and capable of responding to questions or instructions.
Anxiolysis vs. Analgesia
Which sedation option is best depends in part on what concerns you’re trying to address with sedation dentistry, whether you are primarily looking to resolve anxiety (anxiolysis) or if you’re looking for pain relief (analgesia).
Nitrous oxide works best as a pain reliever. You will feel less discomfort when on nitrous than you would otherwise. However, it does have provide some anxiolysis, taking the edge off your anxiety so that you can relax while in the dental chair.
Oral sedation works best for people with high anxiety because it can provide more relaxation. Another benefit of oral sedation is that people can take their medication before leaving home, allowing them to begin feeling the effects before arriving at the dentist’s office. Heading off dental anxiety that might make it hard to force yourself to come into the office is very useful for some people.
For people with anxiety that starts the night before an appointment, an extra dose can be given to help them sleep.
Many people find that the amnesic effects (you won’t remember most of what happens at your dental appointment) is another benefit of oral sedation that helps them conquer future anxiety.
Convenience is one of the reasons why many people choose nitrous oxide. Because nitrous oxide isn’t administered until you reach the dentist’s office, you can drive yourself normally to your appointment. And because nitrous oxide can be eliminated quickly from the system (at the end of your treatment, a short dose of pure oxygen helps clear the body of nitrous oxide. It only takes a few minutes for your body to be completely free of nitrous oxide and your mind cleared. Most people can easily drive themselves home from an appointment where they had nitrous oxide.
In addition, nitrous oxide treatment can continue indefinitely, as long as the body is being supplied with the gas. This makes it ideal in situations where we don’t know how long to expect your procedure will be.
Most people who use oral sedation will need to be driven home, and procedures cannot be extended arbitrarily because sedation will begin to wear off.
If you are considering sedation dentistry in Orlando, please call (407) 834-6446 for an appointment to discuss your options with a sedation dentist at the office of Michael W. Weinstock.