Nitrous oxide is used in roughly one third of dental practices in the United States, especially to allay anxiety that many patients may have toward dental treatment, and it offers some degree of painkilling ability. The benefits of nitrous oxide are many, and the risks are few. The gas is administered with a comfortable mask placed over the nose, and the patient is instructed to breathe in through the nose and out through their mouth. As a precaution, patients should not eat anything for about two hours prior to use of the gas. The patient begins to feel a pleasant level of sedation in anywhere from 30 seconds to three or four minutes. The cheeks and gums will also begin to feel numb in about a third of the patients.
After the gas is adjusted to the appropriate dose, and the patient is relaxed and sedated, the dentist can comfortably give the anesthetic injection (if needed) to the patient, and then proceed with dental treatment. After the treatment is completed, the patient is given pure oxygen to breathe for about five minutes, and all the effects of sedation are usually reversed. Unlike IV sedation or general anesthesia, the patient can almost always leave the office by themselves, without an escort.
Nitrous oxide has few side effects although high doses can cause nausea in some patients, and about 10% of patients do not benefit from it. Patients that are claustrophobic or have blocked nasal passages cannot use nitrous oxide effectively. Nitrous oxide is one of the safest anesthetics available.
The most commonly prescribed dental related drugs that treat anxiety belong to the “benzodiazepine” family. Drugs such as Valium, Halcion, Xanax, or Ativan. These drugs decrease anxiety by binding and toning down activity within “fear” receptors in the brain.
Advantages of oral sedation include:
- Treatment is completed when you are in a more relaxed mood.
- You will have less difficulty sitting through a lengthy procedure.
- Multiple treatments and full mouth restorations can occur at during the same visit.
- Less discomfort after treatment.
Please note that you shouldn’t travel on your own after you’ve taken any of these drugs. Make sure you have an escort, even if you traveled by bus or foot! It’s easy to become disorientated.
Our office offers our patients the option of Intravenous Sedation, also referred to as Dental Intravenous Anesthesia, or “Twilight Sedation,” for their dental treatment. This is what sets our office apart from other dental practices; it is our niche, if you will.
Intravenous Sedation or “twilight sleep” helps you to be comfortable and calm when undergoing dental procedures. Your treatment can be completed for you under intravenous sedation, if you so desire. Intravenous sedation or “IV sedation” (twilight sedation) is designed to better enable you undergo your dental procedures while you are very relaxed. It will enable you to tolerate as well as not remember those procedures that may be very uncomfortable for you. IV sedation will essentially help alleviate the anxiety associated with your treatment. You may not always be asleep but you will be comfortable, calm and relaxed, drifting in and out of sleep – a “twilight sleep”.
If you choose the option of intravenous sedation your IV sedation/anesthesia is administered and monitored by Dr. Diamond, therefore eliminating the costly expense of having your treatment carried out in an operating room or same-day surgical facility. Our clinical staff includes fully qualified Registered Nurses to assist with IV Sedation within our office setting. Patients are continuously and safely monitored during surgery as well as following in a Recovery Room. Our clinical staff are all CPR certified. Dr. Diamond is also ACLS certified.
The goal of IV sedation is to use as little medication as possible to get the treatment completed. With IV sedation, a constant “drip” is maintained via the intravenous tube. At any time an antidote can be administered to reverse the effects of the medications if necessary. IV sedation is very safe!