We all have situations that make us anxious. For some, the thought of going to the dentist and having their teeth and gums examined is enough to keep them away from the dentist’s chair. Dental phobias are more common than you may realize. Roughly 10% of U.S. adults state they avoid going to the dentist due to a dental phobia, whereas nearly 60% report some level of anxiety while undergoing dental procedures. You should not feel embarrassed mentioning that you have dental anxieties. After all, you are among the majority.
At Decatur Woods Dental in Indianapolis, we use conscious sedation techniques (such as nitrous oxide) to put patients at ease. Read on to learn more about how conscious sedation works.
Conscious sedation is a technique used in dentistry and other medical practices that helps patients feel at ease in situations where they would normally experience anxiety. The most common form of conscious sedation is a gas known as nitrous oxide, sometimes referred to as “laughing gas.”
Nitrous oxide is a gas that is naturally occurring. In fact, nitrous oxide is produced by virtually every cell in your body. If you choose nitrous oxide sedation during your appointment, you will breathe a combination of oxygen and nitrous oxide through a device that rests on your nose. This is called a "nasal hood."
After about two minutes of breathing in the nitrous oxide-oxygen mix, you will begin to feel less nervous and more at ease. Some describe feeling “tranquil” and somewhat euphoric. In addition to being a mild sedative, nitrous oxide also serves as a pain reliever, making it suitable for more invasive forms of dental treatments.
Nitrous oxide is a fast-acting form of sedation. After several minutes of the nitrous oxide being turned off, you should feel completely normal.
The calming effect of nitrous oxide works by temporarily blocking the GABA(A) (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors. These are the same receptors responsible for feelings of anxiety. Nitrous oxide also temporarily elevates norepinephrine and dopamine (the brain's "feel good" chemicals).
Has dental anxiety been keeping you away from the dentist’s chair? Schedule a checkup at Decatur Woods Dental and discover the difference conscious sedation can make!Call Us