Nitrous Oxide Sedation Dentistry

By John Meola on April 02, 2016

A patient undergoing a dental examIt is rare to find a patient that actually looks forward to a dental visit. While routine dental care offers many benefits to patients, few enjoy the process of attending dental exams and cleanings. And when it comes to undergoing dental treatment, such as the placement of a filling, many patients experience some level of anxiety before and during their appointment. At Dental Associates of New England, we understand the apprehension that many patients experience when it comes to dental care. That is why we use sedation dentistry to make dental appointments as pleasant as possible. Nitrous oxide sedation dentistry can be administered for our Boston, MA patients to make them feel calmer and more relaxed during their visits with us.

Candidates for Nitrous Oxide

Good candidates for nitrous oxide include patients who:

  • Have a fear of needles
  • Experience gag reflex during dental appointments
  • Have a history of missing dental appointments due to fear of the dentist
  • Dislike the smells, sounds, and tastes associated with dental services
  • Are undergoing more complex treatment or multiple treatments in one appointment
  • Experience pain due to sensitive teeth
  • Have a poor response to local anesthetic

Benefits of Nitrous Oxide Compared to Other Sedation Methods

Nitrous oxide sedation dentistry offers unique benefits when compared to other methods such as oral conscious or IV sedation. First, it is non-addictive, so it is safe for all types of patients. Oral medications and IV sedation are usually not recommended to patients that have a history of addiction. Second, the effects wear off quickly, so patients can drive themselves home after their appointment. In contrast, patients that take oral sedation medication or undergo IV sedation will need a friend or family member to drive them to and from their appointment. Finally, nitrous oxide is easy to administer; patients simply breathe the nitrous oxide in, and within seconds, they feel more relaxed and calm. Oral conscious sedation requires patients to take a pill prior to treatment. The effects of the medication take some time to set in. IV sedation is administered intravenously, and the effects are felt immediately.

How Nitrous Oxide Is Administered

We will place a mask over the patient’s nose. The mask dispenses nitrous oxide and oxygen, which is inhaled through the nose. Seconds after inhaling the nitrous oxide, you will feel its effects. Some patients experience lightheadedness and a tingling sensation. Most importantly, patients feel calm, content, and relaxed. We can continue to administer nitrous oxide throughout your appointment to maintain your comfort. If you are undergoing tooth decay treatment, nitrous oxide can be used with numbing medication to keep you free of pain throughout your appointment.

Shortly after the mask is removed, patients will feel the effects of the nitrous oxide wearing off. This allows patients to safely drive themselves home after the dental appointment.

Nitrous oxide can be used on adults and children who experience anxiety or fear of the dentist. To find out if nitrous oxide sedation dentistry is right for you, contact Dental Associates of New England today.

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