If the thought of dental work gives you anxiety, then it might be time to take a look at sedation dentistry. Options such as nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, can be used to quickly and safely sedate a patient so that they are relaxed and comfortable during their treatment. This particular type of sedative has become incredibly popular in recent years and allowed countless patients to receive the professional dental services they need to maintain a beautiful and healthy smile.
The History of Laughing Gas
Nitrous oxide has been used by dentists and other medical professionals for almost 200 years. In 1844, a dentist named Horace Wells came up with the idea of using laughing gas as a way to reduce a patient’s anxiety during their appointments.
Over the next 20 years, Wells used laughing gas on patients throughout the United States and was able to carry out thousands of successful procedures. The American Dental Association recognized Wells for his work in the field of sedation dentistry in 1864 and began conducting exhaustive research on this powerful substance.
A Look at Sedation Dentistry
Modern dentists have quite a few tools at their disposal when it comes to keeping patients as comfortable as possible during their appointments.
For minor treatments, our dentist might use nothing more than a local anesthetic. This type of anesthetic is applied directly to the soft tissue as a cream or injected into the mouth before the procedure is carried out. Patients will benefit from topical anesthetics during common procedures, such as having their wisdom teeth extracted.
Local anesthetics can also be used in conjunction with sedatives, such as nitrous oxide, so that the patient remains calm and feels absolutely nothing during their procedure. For those who are nervous about injections, nitrous oxide will put them at ease before the local anesthetic is administered.
The final method of anesthesia is known as intravenous sedation. I.V. sedation is typically reserved for longer procedures that involve major alterations to a patient’s teeth, gums, skull or jaw.
How is Nitrous Oxide Administered?
Unlike oral sedatives, which have to be taken hours before a dental appointment, nitrous oxide is administered just moments before a procedure and takes effect almost instantaneously. Patients inhale a blend of nitrous oxide and oxygen throughout their procedure with a small mask that fits just over their nose.
The Benefits of Nitrous Oxide
This gas is not only exceptionally safe, but it also puts patients at ease throughout their appointment. While some patients have full control over their motor functions, others slip into a light sleep and remember absolutely nothing of the procedure.
The depth of the patient’s sedation can be altered at any time depending on their overall comfort. Once the procedure is completed, the nitrous oxide mask is removed, and the effects disappear within two or three minutes.
Learn More Today
To learn more about how nitrous oxide is used in dentistry, or to make a dental appointment, contact the dental practice of Dr. Samuel F. Jirik in Cabot. We proudly serve the Little Rock and surrounding areas. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment.