If the prospect of undergoing dental treatment makes you feel a little uneasy, you are far from alone. Thankfully, many dentists offer sedation to help their patients enjoy a relaxing, stress-free experience. One popular form of sedation is nitrous oxide. What exactly is nitrous oxide? What does it feel like? Will it put you to sleep? Read on below to learn the answers.
What Is Nitrous Oxide?
Nitrous oxide is a colorless, almost odorless gas. In a dental setting, it is mixed with oxygen and then administered through a nasal mask. As you breathe it in, it produces feelings of relaxation and well-being. It also dulls your ability to feel pain. It accomplishes all of that by temporarily altering the chemical processes in your body that cause you to experience anxiety and fear.
What Does Nitrous Oxide Feel Like?
It is common for patients to enter a calm, relaxed, and happy state of mind while they are under the influence of nitrous oxide. Some even remark that they experienced giddiness or euphoria, and a number have noted that the gas gives them tingling sensations in their body. A light, floating sensation has also been known to occur.
The primary purpose of nitrous oxide is not to cause unconsciousness or put you to sleep. The vast majority of patients remain alert enough to respond easily when their dental team asks them questions or gives them directions.
However, on occasion, a patient feels so relaxed during their appointment that they drift off to sleep. If that happens to you, it should be easy for your dental team to wake you by using gentle stimuli. For example, they might simply call your name or give your shoulder a light shake.
What to Expect After Nitrous Oxide
Once your dental team completes your treatment, your nasal mask will be removed, and you will start to breathe in normal air. After just a couple of minutes, the effects of the sedation should be gone. In fact, you can expect to be alert enough to drive yourself home and dive right back into your normal routine.
Is Nitrous Oxide Right for You?
Since nitrous oxide is a mild form of sedation that wears off very quickly, it is an excellent option for busy people who want to resume their usual activities right after their dental appointment. It is considered safe for patients of virtually all ages. In fact, there are only a few groups for whom it is not recommended (such as pregnant individuals and those with certain respiratory illnesses).
Nitrous oxide is unlikely to put you to sleep, but it can help you enjoy an easy dental care experience!
Meet the Practice
Drs. Mark M. Farthing and Armin M. Tepner have many decades of combined experience in the dental field. Both have completed advanced education in sedation dentistry, and both are deeply interested in ensuring that their patients have an easy experience in our practice. To learn more about how they and the rest of our team may be able to serve you, get in touch with Indianapolis Family Dentistry at 317-898-3384.