Sedation dentistry refers to medically induced relaxation techniques used for dental procedures. It can help patients feel more relaxed before, during, and after dental treatment. Patients with dental anxiety or children who are fearful of receiving dental care may be able to benefit from sedation dentistry.
If you’re considering whether or not sedation dentistry would be effective for you or your child, it may help to understand how it works. Here’s an overview of sedation and how it works during dental procedures.
What is Conscious Sedation?
The most common type of sedation used in dentistry is nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas. At the start of dental treatment a mask is placed over the patient’s nose. As the patient breathes normally through their nose the nitrous oxide will start to take effect. In just a few minutes they will begin to feel calm and relaxed. Patients often report that their arms and legs feel heavy and their fingers and toes tingle while under sedation. Once the mask is removed and the patient breathes regular air for a few minutes, the effects will wear off.
Benefits of Nitrous Oxide Sedation
Nitrous oxide sedation offers many benefits for patients and parents:
- Effective. Nitrous oxide is highly effective at helping patients feel more relaxed during dental procedures. Many patients are able to get the dental care they need with the help of sedation dentistry who might otherwise go without.
- Safe. Nitrous oxide is safe for patients of all ages. There are very few side effects and the majority of patients experience none.
- Takes effect and wears off quickly. The sedation takes effect in just a few minutes from breathing the nitrous oxide and wears off just as quickly once the patient is breathing regular room air.
- Patients can drive to and from their appointment. Because of how quickly it wears off, patients should be fully capable of driving themselves to and from the appointment.
- Less local anesthesia needed. Patients who are consciously sedated with nitrous oxide often require less local anesthesia to numb their mouth. This means the area of the face that feels numb will be smaller and it will wear off more quickly.
- Reduces stress. The patient (and parents/caregivers) experience little to no stress when sedation is used for dental procedures. Anxiety, fear, and nervousness is reduced or even eliminated.
How Does Nitrous Oxide Work?
Nitrous oxide works in the body and brain a few different ways. It blocks neurotransmitters that are responsible for feelings of anxiety, preventing the mind and body from experiencing the physical responses to anxiety. It also triggers the brain to release a chemical called norepinephrine that inhibits feelings of pain throughout the body. This is how nitrous oxide makes dental procedures easier to tolerate and less intimidating for patients who are anxious or afraid. It also explains why patients tend to require less local anesthesia for dental treatment while under sedation.
How is Sedation Dentistry Used in Endodontics?
Endodontics is a specialization within the field of dentistry that focuses on the health of the teeth from the inside out. Endodontic procedures often involve the dental pulp, the soft tissue that exists at the core of each tooth. Root canal treatment and other endodontic procedures can be done using nitrous oxide sedation when appropriate.
Where Can I Get Sedation Dentistry?
If you or your child are in need of endodontic treatment and could benefit from sedation dentistry, Eagle Endodontics provides conscious sedation through nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is safe and effective for the majority of patients from children through adults. From a simple root canal to more complex endodontic procedures, the experience will be more comfortable with the help of sedation dentistry.
Contact us today to learn more about sedation dentistry and schedule an appointment.