Smiles For Life

Nitrous Oxide Sedation

By Dr. Dan Whiting on February 26, 2019

Smiling female with straight, white teethMillions of Americans experience stress or anxiety immediately before and during dental visits. The doctors at Smiles for Life Dental Care in Harrisonburg, VA want to ensure that these mental barriers don’t get in the way of your oral health.

To treat dental phobias, our office offers nitrous oxide sedation to keep patients relaxed during their appointment. The safe gas and oxygen mixture induces a calm, peaceful state during dental procedures.

Here, we provide an overview of nitrous oxide sedation treatment so patients know what to expect during their appointment with us.

What Is Nitrous Oxide Sedation?

Nitrous oxide is one form of sedation dentistry. Dentists have multiple forms of sedation to choose from, including oral sedation (Valium, Halcion), IV sedation (administered directly into the bloodstream), general anesthesia (induces deep sleep), or inhaled sedation. Nitrous oxide is a form of inhaled sedation.

Nitrous oxide sedation is typically administered via a mask that feeds a steady stream of nitrous oxide and oxygen through your nose while you undergo a dental procedure. While the gas is in use, one of our doctors will closely monitor your vital signs to ensure that you are receiving the proper dosage of nitrous oxide.

Am I a Candidate for Nitrous Oxide Sedation?

Nitrous oxide is appropriate for individuals who experience dental phobia.

There are medical factors to consider, though. Certain medications and conditions, such as emphysema, can preclude patients from being good candidates for this sedation option.

During your consultation, one of our doctors will examine your medical history to determine if nitrous oxide sedation is right for you.

Candidates who are in good health generally have:

  • A low pain threshold
  • A history of fidgeting when in the dentist’s chair
  • A bad gag reflex
  • A lengthy amount of dental work to be performed
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Traumatic past dental experiences

How Will I Feel Under Nitrous Oxide Sedation?

Once nitrous oxide is administered, it quickly enters the bloodstream through the lungs before reaching the brain. Within the first few minutes of sedation, patients often feel:

  • Euphoric
  • Relaxed
  • Like they are floating
  • Light tingling in their extremities
  • Peaceful

Once the gas mixture is shut off, you will quickly regain normal sensory awareness. Nitrous sedation is the only form of sedation we offer that allows you to drive home or to work afterward.

Are There Risks Associated with This Form of Sedation?

There is always a level of risk associated with the use of anesthesia, but nitrous oxide is considered safe and effective by the American Dental Association and other dental care groups. In fact, nitrous oxide has been used as an anesthetic by dentists for well over a century, meaning it has a long and proven track record.

One way to reduce the risk of complications is to work with a respected and certified team of doctors, such as those at Smiles for Life Dental Care. To determine if you are a good candidate for nitrous oxide, one of our doctors will carefully examine your medical history. During the procedure, your vitals will be closely monitored.

Contact Smiles for Life Dental Care Today

Anxiety should never come between you and a healthy smile. That is why our doctors offer nitrous oxide and other forms of sedation dentistry. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of nitrous oxide sedation, contact our office online or call (540) 828-2312.

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