Avoiding pain doesn’t mean avoiding the dentist.

30th May 2018 | Posted by: SpaDental Administrator

Don’t be afraid of visiting a dentist!

Whichever SpaDental practice you’re close to, you can talk to your dentist about your anxiety or fear of pain. Sometimes just talking to your dentist and understanding what the treatment involves can make all the difference.

Dental surgeon Diana Marcus of SpaDental Plymouth explains how inhalation sedation works*. It can help patients get the dental treatment they need:

inhalation sedation works to help nervous patient dentist is talking to“About 25% of people dread going to the dentist. While as many as 50% dislike it. That means that some people often avoid going to the dentist. But there ways to overcome those feelings. One of them is inhalation sedation.

Inhalation sedation uses nitrous oxide mixed with oxygen. It’s often described as ”the most nearly ‘ideal’ clinical sedative circumstance.”

A good thing, then?

For many people, yes, it is as ideal as you can get. It’s known by patients as happy gas, laughing gas, relative analgesia, RA and even “happy air”.

Inhaling nitrous oxide (mixed with oxygen) blocks the feeling of pain. At the same time, it brings on a comfortable feeling of well-being.

We’re all different, and react differently. Some people describe the experience as feeling warm all over. Or that they feel like a happy drunk, a bit light headed. Others find it relaxing. Some people get the giggles, or even experience different auditory or visual effects.

What exactly happens during inhalation sedation?

It’s hard to say exactly as patient responses vary. That’s why communication and careful monitoring is important during treatment.

But in general:

  • The patient breathes in the “happy air” using a nosepiece.
  • The dentist is able to control the level of concentration of gases for different results. The patient responds quickly to the gas too.
  • Different sensations indicate 4 levels of sedation:
    1. tingling sensation, especially in the arms and legs
    2. warm sensation
    3. euphoria
    4. deep sedation, sleepiness, nausea.

Throughout the procedure, patients can communicate with the dentist and should inform them of any unpleasant symptoms.

Can I get it?

Together with your dentist, you can find out if inhalation sedation is the right method to help you to overcome your anxiety or fear. The first step is to come in and talk to your dentist. We’ll understand.

There are clear advantages to inhalation sedation:

  • works rapidly
  • can be altered easily to meet patient needs
  • patient recovery time is 5 minutes after the gas stops
  • doesn’t use needles
  • reduces the chance of severe gagging during treatment
  • is very safe

There can, however, be disadvantages:

  • you may need a higher level of sedation
  • the gas can’t work if your nose is blocked
  • some people feel claustrophobic from the nosepiece
  • some people don’t feel comfortable with the method
  • it can bring on nausea

Are you really nervous? Then inhalation sedation will help you to relax and accept the dental treatment that you have agreed you need to have.

Or extremely nervous? There are also other methods to help you, such as IV sedation or general anaesthesia.”

Our thanks to Diana for helping us understand how inhalation sedation works.

*Please note that not all SpaDental surgeries are able to offer inhalation sedation.

Further reading:


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