Sedation dentistry is a wonderful tool to help you overcome your fear and obtain the oral health and appearance that you want. Many of our patients have found this approach to be critical in overcoming their anxiety for visiting the dentist.
There are 2 types of conscious sedation:
- Inhalation Sedation
- Oral Sedation
Inhalation sedation, also known as laughing gas or nitrous oxide, has been described as representing the most nearly ‘ideal’ sedation.
Nitrous oxide is simply a gas which you can breathe in. It has no color, smell, and doesn’t irritate. It was discovered in 1772. Humphrey Davy (1778-1829), one of the pioneers of nitrous oxide, described the effects of nitrous oxide on himself following self-administration for a toothache and gum infection as follows:
On the day when the inflammation was the most troublesome, I breathed three large doses of nitrous oxide. The pain always diminished after the first four or five inspirations; the thrilling came on as usual, and uneasiness was for a few minutes swallowed up in pleasure.
Sounds like fun!! The extract above pretty much summarizes the effects of nitrous oxide: it kills pain – and it induces a pleasurable feeling. After 5 minutes or so of breathing in the gas, you should feel a
euphoric feeling spread throughout your body. It really kind of feels like a ‘happy drunk’ feeling. Some people find that there are auditory or visual effects as well. You will feel a bit light headed and often
people get ‘the giggles’ (hence the name laughing gas!).
What are the advantages of nitrous oxide?
- Nitrous oxide works very rapidly – it reaches the brain within 20 seconds, and relaxation and pain-killing properties develop after 2 or 3 minutes.
- There’s no “hangover” effect – the gas is eliminated from the body within 3 to 5 minutes after the gas supply is stopped. You can safely drive home and don’t need an escort.
- With nitrous oxide, it’s easy to give incremental doses until the desired action is obtained (this is called “titration”). So Dr. Safaei has virtually absolute control
over the action of the drug, preventing the possibility of accidental overdoses.
- Inhalation sedation is very safe. It has very few side effects and the drugs used have no ill effects on the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain.
Dr. Safaei has found that oral sedation dentistry is one of the methods used to achieve these goals. There are a variety of oral medications today that specifically are designed to eliminate anxiety and cause the memory of the procedure to fade away. Long proven, commonly used in medicine, they are very safe and easy to use for general dentists also.
It is only necessary to take a small pill. These medications have helped millions of people. Since some people remain relaxed and sleepy for a few hours, we ask that plans are made to drive the patient home just to be on the safe side. Even such a short trip as Encino to Tarzana is not a good idea in our opinion as traffic in many valley areas like Tarzana seem so bad these days.