Not everyone looks forward to visiting the dentist, but that doesn’t mean you have to be afraid to take a seat in the dental chair. Dental anxiety is common among adults, but you should not let it keep you from the care you need, such as regular checkups, cleanings, and restorative treatment for decay or damage. Sedation dentistry, such as nitrous oxide (often called laughing gas), can help make your dental visits more comfortable and relieve your fears, that way you can take great care of your smile.
Types of Sedation Dentistry
There are several forms of sedation that can be used to make a patient more comfortable during a procedure. The two most common of which are nitrous oxide and oral sedatives. IV sedation can also be used for extremely nervous patients, or those that will be undergoing extensive treatment, though this is considered more invasive, and is therefore reserved for situations that make it necessary.
Nitrous oxide is the least invasive of the forms, and one often preferred, because its effects are limited to while it is being used. Most patients that choose this option are able to drive themselves to and from their appointment, whereas patients that take an oral sedative prior to the procedure (usually an hour before) will need to arrange transportation, and may wish to take the remainder of the day off from work or school, since the effects can be longer-lasting.
Sedation can be a tremendous help, both to those with moderate to severe dental anxiety, but also for patients with special needs that make it difficult to sit still long enough to have dental work done.
If you have been delaying treatment because of anxiety, or have a restorative procedure coming up that’s causing you concern, ask your dentist about the sedation options. Just be sure to tell him or her about any medications you are taking, as well as any medical conditions, so that the dentist can determine which form is best for you.