Sedating Brisbane’s Most Anxious Dental Patients with Laughing Gas
Anxiety towards dental treatments is often experienced both by children and adults. Dental anxiety can happen before simple procedures like injection or traumatic procedures such as tooth extraction. Perhaps anxiety is inevitable in dental surgeries. Sedation is used in many dental clinics to manage and reduce this anxiety. “Sedation makes an anxiety provoking situation more tolerable”, Brisbane Dentist Dr. Ellie Nadian says. Small doses of Nitrous Oxide can induce a pleasurable feeling and assist anxious patients in better tolerating a moderately painful treatment.
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Anxious Patients May Cry Because They Have No Other Choice. Compared to children, adults can better repress their feelings and anxiety but probably adults are as anxious as children when it comes to injection or tooth extraction. Adults have the option of avoiding, procrastination or cancelling their dental appointment whereas children do not have this option, therefore they show their anxiety with crying, etc. click here to see how you can deal with dental anxiety in children.
Sedation techniques in dentistry are not absolutely pain-free, however, there are techniques that dentists use to manage pain and anxiety in patients. Laughing gas dulls pain and helps reduce anxiety. It does not provide a 100% pain-free sedation when you are experiencing significant pain. In addition to laughing gas your dentist may also use local anaesthesia (numbing medication) in your mouth to achieve better results.
Laughing gas helps nervous patients relax in the dental chair during their procedure. Your dentist administers controlled amount of laughing gas so that you stay conscious and able to follow dentist instructions. Laughing gas is a conscious sedation but some patients incorrectly refer to it as “sleep dentistry”. Generally, laughing gas administered during dental treatments, does not prevent you from driving after the procedure is fully complete. Laughing gas tends to wear off quickly as soon as the gas valve is closed. But check and communicate with your dentist if you are ok to leave 5 to 15 minutes after your treatment is complete.
Pain Relief: Care for Anxious Patients in Dental Pain
Nitrous oxide (N2O), also commonly known as Laughing Gas, Happy Gas or Sweet Air, is a sedative with a safe application history of nearly two centuries. Since its introduction, laughing gas has remained a popular sedation option. When used safely, it can kill or reduce dental pain. Laughing gas is administered by inhalation in conjunction with oxygen.
Happy Gas for Tooth Extraction Pain Relief
Nitrous oxide has been used as a sedative in dentistry since 1844. Some dentists used this gas to control pain during tooth extraction. Patients normally feel an euphoric feeling spread throughout their body approximately after about 5 minutes of inhaling the gas. Nitrous oxide has pain reducing effects and it cannot kill significant pain. It assists with acceptability of unpleasant procedures.
Laughing Gas is Needle-Free and Quick
Happy gas is an appealing procedural sedative for patients with significant needle phobia because it is applied without needles and has a rapid onset and recovery which is an ideal characteristic for a sedative. In dentistry, laughing gas may be used to provide moderate sedation for procedures that are minimally to moderately painful.
The needle-free application of the laughing gas can be used to mitigate needle phobia in some patients. It can also make patients more receptive of being injected. In fact, many people who are sedated by laughing gas inhalation, often won’t remember being injected during the procedure.
Unlike other sedatives used by dentists e.g. Lidocaine, laughing gas starts working quickly after the patient begins to inhale it. The gas also wears off just as fast once it is removed from the patient. After your treatment under laughing gas, you can check with your dentist to see if it is OK to drive or not.
What Does Laughing Gas Do
When laughing gas is inhaled alone it can cause euphoric effects. When administered as a mixture with oxygen, it puts the patient in conscious sedation. Laughing gas is not intended to put a dental patient into sleep.
The mixture of Laughing gas with oxygen (Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen mixture) has sedative properties. The mixture is inhaled normally through a nose mask. When a safe and controlled amount of the mixture is inhaled, patients can feel relaxed and sedated. After breathing the gas, within a few minutes, you may feel heaviness or tingling in your legs and arms. You may also feel light-headed. Eventually you should feel calm and comfortable.
Unsafe amounts of laughing gas can be harmful, cause hallucination and death. Dentists use a machine to deliver safe amounts of the mixture which is required for a conscious sedation. Within a few minutes after the laughing gas machine is shut off, the gas is breathed out of the patient’s lungs. Laughing gas has low solubility and therefore exists rapidly from the body.
Can You Still Feel Pain with Laughing Gas?
Laughing gas can kill slight and moderate levels of pain. It is used to reduce or ease pain. Injection for example, is not considered an extremely painful procedure. Some patients may not notice injection when sedated with happy gas. Laughing gas cannot kill significant pain.
What are the Risks of Laughing Gas
There is always risks of complications from getting anaesthesia. Consult with your doctor prior to taking sedation if you are obese or you have obstructive sleep apnea.
To reduce the risk of nausea and vomiting keep your meals light before dental treatment that include laughing gas administration.
Dentists avoid the use of laughing gas sedation for pregnant women during the first semester of pregnancy to prevent any potential risks to the newborn.
Side Effects of Dentist Laughing Gas
Most people do not experience any adverse side effect, but a small number of people do. Your dentist controls the required dose and the timing of the application of the gas. The most common side effect that people may experience with Laughing gas is nausea and vomiting. some studies have linked deep and long sedation with nausea and vomiting.
Other negative side effects of dentist laughing gas include:
- Increased Sleepiness
- Excessive Sweating
If sedated patient does not receive oxygen for at least 5 min after the nitrous oxide has been shut, headaches can result. In oral surgeries with laughing gas, dentists use a machine to deliver a nitrous oxide/oxygen mixture to the patient to inhale. The patient is kept conscious so they can respond to dentist instructions.
Nitrous oxide irreversibly oxidizes vitamin B12 in people who are chronically exposed to trace amounts of the gas. Chronic exposure reduces the activity of B12-dependent enzymes including methionine and thymidylate synthetases.
If you decide to use laughing gas, advice your dentist if you have any of the following conditions:
- If you are Pregnant
- If you have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD is a type of obstructive lung disease. COPD is characterized by long-term breathing issues and poor airflow.
- If you have Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase Deficiency. (MTHFR deficiency may cause intellectual disability, psychosis, weakness, Ataxia, Spasticity and Homocystinuria due to high levels of homocysteine in the blood)
- If you have Cobalamin Deficiency (low blood levels of vitamin B12)
Also, if you are using Bleomycin Sulphate (Bleomycin Sulphate is used to treat Cancer) or have a history of emotional issues or drug addiction, laughing gas may not be suitable for you.
Who may Benefit from Laughing Gas Sedation?
If anxiety is preventing you from going to the dentist, then administration of laughing gas by your dentist may help you manage and overcome your anxiety. Happy gas can be used for people with:
- Gag reflex
- Very low pain threshold
- Very sensitive teeth
- Children who can’t sit still in the dental chair
Sedation Dentistry for Children in Brisbane
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, AAPD, recognizes laughing gas as a safe technique to reduce anxiety in patients. Laughing gas can be used as an effective technique to enhance child-dentist communication. Some dentists administer laughing gas to children to protect them against traumatizing and prevent bad experience in dental clinic. When used appropriately, laughing gas is safe to be used in children’s dentistry.
For children, laughing gas can be administered to:
- Reduce gagging
- Elevate pain threshold
- Reduce child anxiety in the dental chair
- Raise tolerance for a long treatment
- Reduce undesired movements in the dental chair
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Laughing Gas can dull pain and calm people with dental anxiety. Laughing gas (also called nitrous oxide) is colour-less and slightly or somewhat sweet in taste and smell. In the past 180 years, nitrous oxide has been used by dentists as an anaesthetic (something that induces insensitivity to pain).
Nitrous oxide was discovered in 1772. People would pay to breath in tiny amounts of nitrous oxide to laugh. Application of nitrous oxide in dentistry goes back to 1844, when a man who had a bad cut and had breathed in nitrous oxide sat next to a dentist and told the dentist that he could not feel any pain and he did not know he had a cut. That dentist was dr. Horace Wells, an American dentist who found that laughing gas can dull pain. He applied laughing gas to dentistry. To demonstrate application of nitrous oxide in dental treatments, he had his own tooth removed while inhaling happy gas.
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It is normal to experience some level of anxiety on the dental chair. We can help you overcome dental anxiety. When laughing gas is administered in small doses, it provides the patient with a feeling of mild sedation. Inhaling nitrous oxide (laughing gas) dulls pain and is therefore used in medical treatments as a pain killer. Like many pain killers, it does not sedate significant pain. It is only effective with moderate levels of pain e.g. injections and mild dental surgeries like tooth extractions, etc. it is also effective in calming patients who are anxious about their visit to the dentist.
Emergency Dentist Brisbane
Pure Dentistry is a provider of Mt Gravatt dental services in Brisbane South side. The clinic is equipped to provide emergency dental care for residents of Brisbane. In case of dental emergency call 07 3343 4869. We will try to fit you in same day or the day after. Wide range of dental services are provided in extended hours 7 days a week. You can book your appointment online 24/7 directly from our website: puredentistry.com.au
Laughing Gas is an old and quite popular type of sedation that is being used in many dental clinics across Australia. It can dull pain for patients, reduce anxiety and putting nervous patients into a calm, relaxed state. If you are nervous about your treatment advise our team in Pure Dentistry and ask your dentist if you can benefit from laughing gas sedation.