The Benefits of Laughing Gas in Oral Treatments
The thought of undergoing any form of dental work can evoke some sense of anxiety and fear in anyone. However, for some people the fear is crippling to the extent that they avoid or postpone treatment until the dental problem is no longer bearable. It is estimated that in the US alone, about 8 percent of the population suffers from severe dental anxiety, also known as dental phobia. These individuals cannot tolerate sitting through a dental appointment, let alone thinking of it. However, DR. Shawn Edwards strives to ensure every patient is able to access dental care and have a positive experience. This is why he uses various forms of sedation such as laughing gas, to help patients with extreme dental phobia relax and stay calm during dental visits.
What is Laughing Gas?
From the name, it is easy to assume that this is some kind of air that makes you hysterical. This is however not the case; the name actually implies the calming effect it has on the mind and body that is sometimes accompanied by a euphoric feeling. It is also known as nitrous oxide, a chemical compound that when inhaled, causes a numbing effect to a patient’s body and mood, allowing them keep calm in addition to making them giddy.
How Does it Work?
At Dental Associates of Easley, nitrous oxide has proved to be a safe and effective way of sedating patients that include children. The gas is colorless, non-inflammable and has a slight sweet odor. It is usually mixed with oxygen and then the patient is asked to inhale it through a small mask. The gas enters the bloodstream via the lungs and in a short time works its way up to the brain where it prompts the release of endorphins, dopamine and the body’s natural opioids. This temporarily stabilizes neuron activity in the brain thus producing the anesthetic effect.
Laughing gas leaves patients fully awake, such that they can hear and respond to any directives. It eliminates anxiety, fear and numbs you from the pain or discomfort associated with dental procedures. The gas is given bit by bit until a procedure is completed, since its effects tend to wear off very fast.
What Are the Main Benefits?
Fast Acting: It takes just about 2 minutes to realize the full effects of nitrous oxide. This shortens the treatment period as once the gas hits your bloodstream you will start to feel a sense of calm and you won’t feel pain.
Painless Administration: There are no needles involved or any other intimidating equipment that may set patients to a panic. You simply put on a gas mask and inhale the gas. The easy administration makes it really great for patients with dental phobia.
Patients Stay Awake: The though of lying completely unconscious on the dentist’s chair is not appealing to some patients. Also, if you want to be aware of your surroundings when getting dental work done, laughing gas allows for that. You can be able to respond to questions or directions, even under its effects.
Increases Comfort and Minimizes Anxiety: Regardless of the level of your dental anxiety, nitrous oxide is capable of instilling a sense of calmness and comfort so that you stay relaxed all through a dental procedure.
Safe:The anesthetic comprises of nitrous oxide gas and oxygen, which very few people react negatively to. It is also easy to monitor how much o it you are getting, making it safe for most individuals.
Requires Short Recovery Time: The effects of nitrous oxide wear off very fast. This is probably why it is mostly used on procedures taking a short amount of time. Once you stop breathing in the gas, its effects are reversed and within a short time after treatment you are discharged and even allowed to drive yourself home.
You can learn more about the use of laughing gas in dentistry at Easley Dental Associates. We have an experienced and friendly dentist who has been providing dental services since 2005. In addition to that we are geared towards providing comprehensive dental services to ensure all your dental care needs are met at our office.