Nitrous Oxide is used to overcome a fear of the dentist. It is common among people who’ve had negative dental experiences.
Maybe these less than happy experiences occurred as a child (sometimes many years previously).
Or they may have happened because a treatment didn’t go well as an adult.
Fear of the dentist could even be due to seeing a dentist whose care factor was low.
Regardless of the fear’s origin, it can be tough going for someone to get along to the dentist if they have high anxiety or fear.
What I’ve found is it’s not as simple for patients as building a bridge and getting over it.
As a dentist, this raises concerns. Especially if you have a preventive focus like we do here at Dental as Anything.
So how can a person with a fear of the dentist manage the fear and get the quality dental care they deserve anyway?
It might seem strange, but laughing gas – or nitrous oxide – can help.
What is Nitrous Oxide?
Nitrous oxide – or laughing gas – is a colourless gas used for pain relief and sedation
Used in the dental industry for many years, laughing gas is very effective for patients who experience any kind of anxiety or fear around the dentist or dental treatment.
How Does Laughing Gas Work?
Laughing gas works by relaxing the patient, allowing dental treatment to proceed without the patient feeling anxious or stressed.
Unlike other drugs, laughing gas doesn’t enter the bloodstream. Instead, it is inhaled.
This allows the laughing gas to take effect very quickly. It allows the effects to wear off quickly too.
Leaving the patient with a relaxed feeling, similar to that of a massage or couple of drinks, laughing gas helps relieve the tight feeling in a patient’s tummy – sure sign of stress.
The net effect? They feel calm and peaceful. And treatment can proceed more smoothly and comfortably.
When is Laughing Gas Used?
I’ve been a dentist for over thirty years now.
Back in the day when I was studying, every undergraduate learned how to use laughing gas.
Since then, I’ve used laughing gas in my practice with excellent results.
I’ve literally seen patients transformed because their perception of the dentist has changed by using laughing gas during treatment.
Off-the-scale anxiety falls away, leaving a patient who is able to emotionally manage their dental treatment.
Unfortunately, today’s dentists don’t receive the same training, so laughing gas isn’t as popular as it once was.
In fact, many dental practices don’t offer laughing gas as an option for pain relief or sedation.
I think this is a real shame because it means the patient is not in control.
Who’s in Charge?
Apart from the relief a patient feels, there is one other significant benefit from laughing gas.
The patient is in charge during their dental treatment.
Really? Yes, really.
And it’s a level of empowerment that makes a world of difference.
At Dental as Anything, when we treat a patient with laughing gas, we follow a process.
Firstly, we spray a patient’s gum to numb it. Then we give the patient nitrous oxide, allowing enough time for the numbing to take effect.
Following that, the teeth are numbed. While that is happening, the patient receives more laughing gas.
Throughout both the anaesthetic and treatment, the patient is fully in control.
We make sure every person is aware they can adjust the laughing gas dosage by letting us know if it’s working or not.
We always rely on the patient’s feedback to ensure they’re in the optimum state for treatment.
As a dentist, this is essential, because it’s the difference between being effective in treatment delivery and not.
As a patient, this approach is life-changing. It can mean the difference between getting treatment that leads to better oral health and improved overall wellbeing, or suffering with serious dental conditions.
How do you know if laughing gas is for you?
You know laughing gas is for you if you’re afraid of the dentist, but know that good oral hygiene is vital.
My soapbox is prevention, so I am totally okay with saying I use laughing gas for every procedure, from cleaning to anything a patient has a concern with.
Because it means people are more like to get the treatment they need. And that’s what I care about.
If you want to discuss your pain relief options, including how we can help you overcome your fear of the dentist with laughing gas, be sure to get in touch. Our team is trained to help people just like you to manage their fear of the dentist.
While you’re at it, download our free infographic on how good oral health keeps you well all over.