We understand that for some individuals, the right dentist and psychological techniques alone are insufﬁcient to do the trick for you. There are available pharmacological alterative for coping with dental anxiety.
When is sedation useful?
- When you want to be “out of it” and unaware of what’s happening during a procedure. IV sedation is the method of choice.
- When you would like a little help to relax. “laughing gas” can offer you a pleasant relaxed feeling during the procedure.
- When you have a “gut feeling” that sedation would help you and assist you to get work completed which otherwise you would not be able to tolerate.
- When your fear is procedure-speciﬁc (e.g. needles, extractions), especially if you know that the fear would still exist in the presence of an empathetic dentist and adequate pain-control.
- When you perceive your anxiety to be entirely irrational and not helped by either an empathetic dentist or psychological techniques.
- When you have other mental health problems and you believe you will beneﬁt from sedation.
- When it’s an unpleasant or invasive procedure such as more complex extractions.
When should I NOT consider sedation?
- Control and trust are a major problem for you.
- you feel you would beneﬁt from a gentle approach which include being talked through procedures, going at your pace, and using stop signals.
- You have an intensive dislike for of fear of the drugs used for sedation.
- You‘re concerned that sedation will interfere with your judgment and your ability to communicate your concerns to your dentist.
What are the 3 most common forms of dental sedation?
- Inhalation sedation (“laughing gas“, “happy gas”, nitrous oxide).
- Oral sedation (anti-anxiety pills or a liquid).
- Intravenous (IV) sedation (drugs administered into the blood-stream through a vein).
The above mentioned do not involve “being put to sleep”. You can be put to sleep under general anaesthesia, or GA for short.
Inhalation sedation (laughing gas, RA, happy gas, nitrous, nitrous oxide) uses nitrous oxide (N20) and oxygen (02), which you can breath in. Nitrous oxide has no colour, smell and does not irritate.
What are the effect of “laughing gas”?
- Helps to reduce pain.
- Induces a pleasurable feeling.
- After 5 minutes or so of breathing in the gas, you will feel a euphoric feeling spread throughout your body.
- You may have auditory (hearing) or visual effects.
- Some light headedness might occur.
- Often people get ‘the giggles’ (hence the name laughing gas!).
Stages of inhalation sedation
Depending on the concentration and length of administration of laughing gas, four levels of sedation can be experienced (after an initial feeling of light-headedness):
- A tingling sensation, especially in the arms and legs, or a feeling of vibration (“par aesthesia“).
- The tingling sensation can be quickly followed by warm sensations.
- Following that the feeling of well-being, euphoria and/or ﬂoating may occur. During heavier sedation, hearing may dissolve into a constant, electronic-like throbbing.
- at a deeper level of sedation again, sleepiness, difﬁculty to keep one’s eyes open or speak (“dream”) can occur.
Should nausea set in, it means you could be over sedated. If you experience any unpleasant symptoms, let your dentist know so that they can adjust the percentage of N20. Alternatively, just remove the mask.