Dental anxiety is an extremely common condition today – often passed from parents to child and or from a previous stressful or traumatic experience. For many different reasons, a large proportion of the population is very nervous about visiting the dentist. This can be especially apparent for children. However, it is extremely important that dental anxiety doesn’t keep your child away from the dentist. Dental visits are important to both clean the teeth and catch any potential problems before they develop into serious issues. To calm nerves and make patients more comfortable in the dentist’s chair, few dentists offer a form of sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry uses medicine to make a patient feel more relaxed and remove any anxiety they are feeling about visiting the dentist. Sedation is Not Just the laughing gas as some dental offices want you to believe.
One of the most popular sedative methods is oral sedation. To use this method, your pediatric dentist will simply give a prescription labeled medication that your child will take shortly before the appointment start. When the medication starts working, any anxiety they are feeling will start to melt away and he/she will feel calmer and more relaxed. Oral sedation makes you feel often fully relaxed, but doesn’t make them completely unconscious. This allows for a response to questions and commands from us during the procedure. Because oral sedation will affect the motor skills and ability to respond, you will need to bring a companion with you to your appointment to drive your child home. Once at home, he/she will rest comfortably for the rest of the day, but can resume your normal activities the next day.
Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is another common form of anti-anxiety tool offered by dentists. Nitrous oxide is a colorless and odorless gas. When inhaled, nitrous oxide distracts you from any pain you are feeling and produces a pleasurable sensation. During a dental procedure, nitrous oxide is administered through a small mask that you will wear. During the procedure, your dentist and his or her staff will be able to control the flow of nitrous oxide and make sure you are getting the proper amount of sedation. While they are breathing the gas, they will be able to see and hear but likely any anxiety will melt away. He/she will be able to respond to questions and commands throughout the dental procedure. When the appointment is over, your dentist will discontinue administering the gas and the affects will fade almost immediately. If you or your child is feeling especially anxious about going to the dentist or getting a specific procedure performed, have a conversation with us at La Petite Dentistry about undergoing nitrous oxide treatment.
To learn more about sedation dentistry or to schedule an appointment, contact La Petite Dentistry today.