Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is most often used for patients who are mildly or moderately anxious or nervous. It eases their fears so that they can relax and receive treatment comfortably and safely. Nitrous oxide is administered by placing a small mask over the patient's nose. As the gas begins to work, the patient becomes calm, but is still awake and can communicate. When the gas is turned off, the effects of sedation wear off almost immediately.
What is the medication?:
One of many safe and widely-used sleeping pills will be used. In certain cases, nitrous oxide gas may also be used as an additional medication.
Can I drive home?:
No. The effects last many hours and driving is not safe. We will call your ride at the end of your appointment to bring you home. You should not plan to do anything but sleep for the rest of the day. By the next morning you will feel normal, rested and ready to get on with your life.
Will you use local anesthetic (Novocain)?:
Always. Oral sedation is not general anesthesia. Treatment is no different than if you were not sedated. The difference is that you will be much more relaxed, memory of the procedure will be minimal and the time will seem to fly by.
Will I be asleep?: Most people do doze during their appointment, but our primary goal is relaxation and comfort with safety.
How safe is it?:
Properly administered oral sedation is the safest form of sedation. We use sophisticated monitoring equipment during all procedures and you are always attended by a trained doctor or staff member.
Is it expensive?:
No. There is a sedation fee to cover the expense of the drugs and the monitoring, but we don't try to profit from sedation. Our profit (and yours) is in your comfort and in the quality of your care.
Would I be unusual in wanting sedation?:
Not at all. Oral sedation in our office is very popular for surgery, for long appointments and for complicated procedures as well as for basic dental anxiety.