Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)
Nitrous Oxide is a sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which you can breathe.
Nitrous Oxide has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. Nitrous oxide is safe, the patient receives 50-70% oxygen with no less than 30% nitrous oxide.
The patient is able to breathe on their own and remain in control of all bodily functions.
The patient may experience mild amnesia and may fall asleep, not remembering all of what happened during their appointment.
There are many advantages to using Nitrous Oxide
- The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation.
- There is no after effect such as a “hangover”.
- Inhalation sedation is safe with no side effects on your heart and lungs, etc.
- Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging.
- It works rapidly as it reaches the brain within 20 seconds. In as little as 2-3 minutes its relaxation and pain killing properties develop.
Reasons to not use Nitrous Oxide
You should not utilize Nitrous Oxide if you have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Though there are no other major contraindications to using nitrous oxide, you may not want to use it if you have emphysema, exotic chest problems, M.S., a cold or other difficulties with breathing.
You may want to ask your dentist for a “5 minute trial” to see how you feel with this type of sedation method before proceeding.
Commonly referred to has the “happy pill”; oral sedation is where the patient is given a sedative-hypnotic drug just before their dental appointment. The most common drug is Triazolam (Halcion). It takes approximately 25–30 minutes for it to start to take affect and therefore you will be instructed to come to your appointment early. Halcion has a sedative effect that makes it a requirement for patients to have an escort to and from their dental appointment.
Oral Sedation works well for patients that have a mild to moderate level of fear and anxiety and have had oral sedation dentistry in the past. One problem associated with oral sedation is that it can be a bit of a hit–and–miss affair. Basically, you don’t know how well the drug will be absorbed from the stomach. The inability to customize the amount of drug to give each patient “titrate” minimizes the advantages of oral sedation.
Intravenous Sedation (“Twilight Sedation”)
Our office offers our patients the option of Intravenous Sedation, also referred to as Dental Intravenous Anesthesia, or “Twilight Sedation,” for their dental treatment. This is what sets our office apart from other dental practices; it is our niche, if you will.
Intravenous Sedation or “twilight sleep” helps you to be comfortable and calm when undergoing dental procedures. Your treatment can be completed for you under intravenous sedation, if you so desire. Intravenous sedation or “IV sedation” (twilight sedation) is designed to better enable you undergo your dental procedures while you are very relaxed. It will enable you to tolerate as well as not remember those procedures that may be very uncomfortable for you. IV sedation will essentially help alleviate the anxiety associated with your treatment. You may not always be asleep but you will be comfortable, calm and relaxed, drifting in and out of sleep – a “twilight sleep”.
If you choose the option of intravenous sedation your IV sedation/anesthesia is administered and monitored by Dr. Peña, therefore eliminating the costly expense of having your treatment carried out in an operating room or same-day surgical facility.