By Oriana Lieu
If you have anxiety about visiting the dentist, you’re not alone. Research suggests one out of every five Americans have the same apprehension. I understand how past experiences might have left you uncomfortable. If you avoid going to the dentist, you place yourself at greater risk for gum disease, oral cancer and tooth decay that your dentist or hygienist can spot at a periodic visit.
We have seen everything here in the office regarding different levels of anxiety and fear of dentistry. Some people can’t do anything unless they are fully sedated. Some take a medication to relax them before their appointment. Some self medicate with Marijuana or other drugs. One option that can help reduce anxiety and make your visit a pleasant one is Nitrous Oxide.
Nitrous Oxide is a colorless and nearly odorless gas used in dentistry to reduce anxiety, pain and gagging during procedures. You may know it under its more common name – laughing gas. It is delivered via tubing connected to a small “mask” that is placed over your nose, and offers varying degrees of sedation that range from mild tingling and euphoria to drowsiness.
You’ve likely heard of nitrous oxide before, and perhaps even benefited from it in the past if you’ve had your wisdom teeth removed. It has been a fixture in dentistry since its discovery in 1772! Most people don’t realize, however, that it can be used for all types of procedures – even cleanings – given the degrees of flexible sedation it provides. I have even heard that some hospitals use it during childbirth for women in labor.
Having a good relationship with your provider is also a key to reducing dental anxiety. Being able to ask questions with the dentist, treatment coordinator, hygienist or dental assistant is also key. Sometimes people are scared to ask the dentist so getting info from other trained and knowledgeable staff is a great resource. Videos can also give you background info to help ease fears. Whatever it is, it is helpful to talk with your dentist or hygienist about your concerns or fears before your appointment so they can be sure to address those when you do have dental treatment done.
So, eliminate your fear of the dentist once and for all, and ask us about nitrous oxide treatment or other anxiety management medications at your next visit. Or, call today to schedule an appointment if you’ve been hiding from us for a while!