Approaching the Anxious and Fearful Patient
Nitrous oxide has been proven an effective and safe anesthetic used in hospital based procedures but more popular in dental practise. Administered by inhalation, this odorless, tasteless gas has analgesic, anxiolytic, and amnestic properties. It can be considered the right approach for the anxious dental patient.
With various methods and levels of sedation available, nitrous oxide use is a form of conscious sedation. The patient does not fall asleep and can still talk with the dental staff , though he might not remember everything about the procedure done to him.
Some dentists administer IV or IM sedation for deep sedation in which highly fearful patients will benefit in order to have dental work completed. Relaxed patients are less likely to gag or move during procedures. It also becomes easier for the dentist to work.
Nitrous oxide affects the brain by blocking pain-signaling neurons. It also increases the activity of GABA receptors, which leads to decreased anxiety. Also, patients feel content and even euphoric with release of dopamine, a nitrous oxide effect.
However, nitrous oxide effects differ from patient to patient. Some patients feel giddy and even laugh. Others feel relaxed and light-headed. Some patients’ arms and legs feel heavy while others experience tingling in their arms and legs.
The gas is used during basic dental procedures such as dental fillings, occasionally used for routine cleanings for patients with severe dental anxiety. Nitrous oxide isn’t as strong as other sedatives; though not for major surgeries, it is used in hospital settings. It can be initially given to patients in preparation for heavier sedation. It is especially helpful for children and those patients with special needs. Well tolerated, it does not cause allergic reactions and does not have any lingering effects.
There are a few situations contraindicated for nitrous oxide sedation, such as pregnant women in the first trimester, COPD patients and those with upper respiratory tract infections, those with middle ear issues, those with psychological disturbances, and current or recovering drug addicts.
Nitrous oxide is a proven an asset to a dental office. With right usage and precautions, right administration, appropriate candidates and proper consent, it can be considered indispensable in dental practice.
Anxious and Fearful No More in Bellevue
Nitrous oxide can be safely used in both children and adults here at Overlake Dental. If you have such anxieties, you need not worry. Your procedure will be as safe, smooth and anxiety-free. Only in Bellevue.