It is completely normal to feel a little anxious about your upcoming dental appointment. The age-old apprehension of laying on a table while one’s doctor uses a variety of metal instruments is more common than people might think, and it is not just children who share this fear.
Many adults actually forego their dental health due to problems with anxiety; for these individuals, the fear of getting a check-up can often trump proper hygiene.
Not only is this sad, it puts people at a significant risk of developing serious health issues down the road; gingivitis and periodontal disease have been linked to heart disease and other cardiovascular issues, which is why overcoming your fear is absolutely essential. Laughing gas has been popularized as the go-to dental sedative, because it soothes patients into a comfortable, sedative state.
Most people think nitrous oxide and oxygen make you laugh uncontrollably, but in reality, the effects of laughing gas are much more subtle. Your dentist will determine how deeply you need to be sedated upon administering the gas; some patients benefit more from being put completely under, while others may need just enough to get rid of the anxiety’s edge.
Nitrous oxide is both colorless and odorless, and it takes effect very quickly; this is why the vast majority of patients are made unaware of the transition to their newly sedated state. To facilitate the calming of your nerves, your dentist may ask you to count backwards from one hundred; by the time you wake up (if sedated completely), the procedure will be complete.
While it only takes a mere 20 seconds for nitrous oxide to enter the brain, many people, especially children and teens, begin feeling the effects even sooner. The gas is administered via a small mask attached to a tank; your dentist will fit the mask on your face and ask you to breathe normally.
Since most people who receive nitrous oxide remain conscious during their operation, you will have no problem listening to and responding to what your dentist says. Many patients report slight tingling sensations throughout their arms and legs and a bit lightheaded, but other than this, the side effects to laughing gas are nil. It is a quick and painless aid that has helped millions of people finally get and stay comfortable at the dentist’s office. Now deemed an essential tool (due to the vast number of patients with anxiety), most general and cosmetic dentistry clinics have ample nitrous oxide on hand.
There is no need to be nervous or concerned about having a root canal, filling, or any other dental procedure. Pakerhill Dental wants to stress the importance of visiting your dentist on a regular basis; routine check-ups are essential for stopping infections before they start.