Patients with higher-than-usual levels of dental anxiety and fear may require a stronger sedative effect than nitrous oxide can provide. As a more potent alternative, oral sedation is often recommended, and in some cases, can be combined with nitrous oxide for more pronounced results.
Oral sedation is taken in pill or liquid form shortly before your treatment begins. You can also take the sedative the night before to prolong the effects. Oral sedatives provide a greater feeling of relaxation than nitrous oxide, and their effects may take the rest of the day to wear off. Often patients report having no memory of even being at the dentist. Anytime oral sedation is used it is vitally important to have an escort to bring you to and from your appointment and be available until the effects of the sedation wear off.
For patients that may feel a little anxious or nervous about their dental treatment, we offer a variety of dental sedation options to help you feel calm and relaxed during your procedure. Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is the mildest and most common form of dental sedation, and can even be administered safely to children.
Nitrous oxide is an inhaled sedative that is administered through a mask worn over the nose. As you inhale the gas, you immediately exhale it, so while you feel the effects of the sedative, those effects dissipate almost instantly upon removing the mask.
Unlike sedation, which is designed to alleviate anxiety and nervousness, local anesthesia helps minimize physical discomfort in and around the area of your mouth that your dentist is working on. Anesthesia can be applied topically or by injection, and in many cases, can be combined with an appropriate form of sedation to maximize your comfort during your visit.