Easing Dental Anxiety

Visits to the dentist have the potential to trigger high levels of anxiety for some people. Dental fears and anxieties are particularly common among children. If you or your child struggles with dental fears, it may be good to know there are options available to help ease the stress of your upcoming visit.

One of these options is the use of nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is a safe and effective method of sedating a patient, which helps them to relax during a dental procedure. Here are some common questions and answers about nitrous oxide to help you better understand its use and determine if it is a good option for you or your loved one at your next dental visit:

How does Nitrous Oxide Work?

Often known as “laughing gas”, nitrous oxide is a sedative agent mixed with oxygen that is inhaled through a small mask that fits over the patient’s nose. As you inhale through your nose with normal breathing, within a few short minutes you will start to feel its effects. 

What Does Nitrous Oxide Feel Like?

When in effect, nitrous oxide causes the patient to feel calm and comfortable as it creates a light-headedness or tingling within the body. Some people say that it makes their arms and legs feel heavy. 

Will I Be Conscious While Using Nitrous Oxide? 

The use of nitrous oxide does not cause a patient to lose consciousness or fall asleep. In fact, during use a patient can still hear and respond to any requests or directions from the dentist. The benefits, however, are that the patient is able to relax and remain calm during a procedure that under normal circumstances may cause them to be anxious.

How Long Does Nitrous Oxide Work?

The effects of nitrous oxide remain as long as the mask is on and the patient is breathing in the gas. As soon as the mask is removed, the effects of nitrous oxide begin to wear off. Within a few minutes of removing the mask, all effects are gone and the patient recovers all senses as normal. 

We at River Valley Smiles are here to help you have the best possible experience at our office so that you can receive the best dental care possible. If you think that the use of nitrous oxide is a good option for overcoming the barrier of dental anxiety for you or your child, we would love to talk with you about its use at your next visit.