Can Nitrous Oxide Ease Dental Anxiety?
Dental anxiety may be one of the most common problems in the United States.
Experts estimate that up to 75 percent of the population experiences some level of dental anxiety. That’s 3 out of every 4 people.
Many people are able to cope with this anxiety in one way or another, and they do visit the dentist for routine cleanings, examinations, and basic care.
For up to 15 percent of the population, that anxiety is more like a fear of the dentist, however. That can make it difficult to schedule an appointment, much less to walk into an office and sit in a dentist’s chair.
At Hubbard & Leath Dental, we understand that it’s mentally difficult for some patients to come to our office in Rochester Hills.
There are a number of reason that people experience dental anxiety, and we know it’s not something that can be overcome in one visit to the dentist office. We also believe that we can help you learn to manage your anxiety with the comfort options that we offer to our patients, such as nitrous oxide dental sedation.
What Is Nitrous Oxide?
You may have heard of nitrous oxide by another name — laughing gas.
The gas was discovered in 1772, and a man name Humphrey Davy did several experiments to learn about what this gas could do, according to dentalfearcentral.org. (This is a website created by people with dental anxiety to help others with their anxiety.)
Davy was one of the first people to note the pain-relieving value of nitrous oxide. He even took some of the gas to help himself deal with a toothache.
If you receive nitrous oxide, you will breathe it in through a mask. Within minutes, you will have a euphoric feeling and maybe feel a little light-headed.
As long as you breathe the gas, you will feel its effects. When your procedure is finished, we simply turn the gas off and within minutes you will be feeling like you normally would.
So, who might benefit from nitrous oxide?
▶︎ Patients With Dental Anxiety
We know this is the topic of this post, but it’s a point worth emphasizing.
People can experience a fight-or-flight response when they are afraid. We don’t want you to run away, and we certainly don’t want you to fight once you’ve made the effort to come in for dental care.
Nitrous oxide can help you remain calm throughout your procedure. This will allow you to receive the dental care that you need.
▶︎ Patients Who Gag Easily
Some people have sensitive gag reflexes, and that may be one of the things contributing to your dental anxiety. After all, dental work does involve people putting tools in your mouth to clean your teeth and gums.
Even making impressions or having X-rays made can trigger some people’s gag reflexes.
We know you don’t want to gag, and we are pretty sure your dentist or dental hygienist won’t want you to gag either. By helping you relax, nitrous oxide can help you control your gag reflex.
▶︎ Patients Who Have A Low Tolerance For Pain
We get it. Pain hurts, and if you are worried about pain, that may discourage you from making a dental appointment. Our dental professionals strive to reduce and eliminate as much pain as possible, but nitrous oxide can make pain a non-issue.
When Humphrey Davy made his discoveries about the anesthetic value of nitrous oxide, it didn’t take long for dentists to incorporate the gas into their treatment. The fact that many dentists still use nitrous oxide today should tell you a lot about how effective it is.
Other Comfort Options
Some patients don’t need nitrous oxide, and others prefer not to use it. For them, we have other ways to help them feel comfortable during their treatment.
One way to do that is to take your mind off your procedure. We have flat-screen televisions in each of our rooms so you can watch something that will distract you from your treatment.
Other patients don’t like the sounds of dental work. We have headphones if you would prefer to listen to music instead.
And when your appointment is over, we will offer you a warm towel.
Ease Into Dental Care
If you haven’t been to the dentist for years because of your dental anxiety, you shouldn’t feel like you have to dive in with both feet. The staff at Hubbard & Leath Dental wants you to feel comfortable and ease you back into dental care.
Nitrous oxide sedation dentistry can be the first step toward improving and maintaining your oral health.
We look forward to meeting you, and we will be here to support you one step at a time.