30 to 40 million Americans are estimated to live with dental anxiety and phobia, while about 36% of adults who don’t see a dentist regularly cite fear as the reason. Because oral health and overall health are so inextricably linked, putting off routine dental care can have negative consequences like periodontal disease, gum infections, and tooth loss. Think you can’t feel relaxed at the dentist? Think again! Dr. Jackson offers nitrous oxide and oral sedation for some added calm in the chair.
The most common—and damaging—misconception about sedation dentistry is the belief that a patient gets into the dental chair and BOOM—they’re immediately unconscious, waking up later with no memory of what just happened. No matter how you feel about the dentist, the scenario above sounds scary to us—and it is not the way sedation dentistry works. Dr. Jackson practices conscious sedation dentistry.
Nitrous oxide is a colorless, odorless gas that takes effect quickly when breathed through a mask. By inhaling deeply, patients relax, becoming sleepy and maybe a little giggly—hence its nickname, “laughing gas”. Nitrous oxide dulls dental pain and sensitivity and makes time seem to pass more quickly. Once the procedure is done, the patient breathes pure oxygen through the mask for five minutes. They may feel more alert than when they arrived!
Oral sedation is prescribed to relieve anxiety a few hours before a dental appointment. The medications are usually benzodiazepines (“benzos”) such as Xanax or Valium. You will need to review all your medications with Dr. Jackson prior to choosing conscious oral sedation. You will feel sleepy, but aware of what is happening and able to respond to the Smiles of Orange team. Patients who choose oral sedation will need a driver to and from their appointments—never take benzos and drive.