Inhalation Sedation: Breathing Your Way to Anxiety-Free Dentistry

Inhalation Sedation

Many people fear the dentist, often due to fear of pain. Unfortunately, this widespread phobia causes more than 1-in-6 people to skip appointments and not receive the dental care they so desperately need (Anxiety UK). 

This poses a significant worry for us dentists, as our utmost concern is your well-being. A healthy smile is important not only for your oral health but also for your overall systemic well-being, given the strong connections between poor oral health and a range of illnesses. Therefore, visits to the dentist should be treated with the same level of urgency as seeing the GP.

Dental phobia can stem from various sources, such as previous traumatic experiences, a fear of needles, the unsettling sounds, or the clinical atmosphere.

The dental community has thought long and hard on ways to help people overcome their dental anxiety, from sedation therapy to advancing practice methods and technology to ensure anxiety-free experiences. One such development is inhalation sedation (relative analgesia), which can greatly reduce the dread and stress of visiting the dentist.

At Cliftonville Dental, we’ve taken great care to ensure the comfort of our patients, including advanced training in administering both inhalation and intravenous sedation.

In this blog post, we will be exploring the benefits of inhalation sedation for our nervous patients. This technique can significantly enhance your comfort and alleviate pain, helping you overcome your fear of the dentist. 


Understanding Inhalation Sedation


Inhalation sedation involves breathing a mix of nitrous oxide and oxygen through a soft nasal mask. While you remain conscious and responsive, a sense of warmth and relaxation will envelop you during the procedure. This treatment is also widely known as “happy gas” or “laughing gas”.

If you’re afraid of needles, this method is an excellent alternative to conscious (IV) sedation


Is It Safe?


Inhalation sedation is a time-tested, exceptionally safe technique that’s been used in childbirth and dentistry for centuries. Our highly respected sedation expert, Dr Amita Peet, boasts over two decades of experience administering inhalation sedation. So rest assured that you’re in capable hands under her care.


Who Can Benefit?


Inhalation sedation is an incredibly versatile option for nervous patients of all ages, including children. 

Before incorporating inhalation sedation into your treatment plan, we will need to see you for an initial consultation to evaluate your overall health, medical history, and other relevant factors.

There are some situations where inhalation sedation may not be suitable for you. These include pregnancy, respiratory conditions like COPD or severe asthma, and allergies or sensitivities to components of the sedation mixture, such as nitrous oxide.


Benefits of Inhalation Sedation for Dental Anxiety:


1) Reduced Anxiety and Fear: Inhalation sedation effectively induces relaxation, reducing anxiety associated with dental procedures. This creates a more soothing and manageable experience.


2) Increased Pain Threshold: Inhalation sedation can heighten your pain threshold and enhance the efficacy of local anaesthesia.


3) Quick Onset and Recovery: Nitrous oxide takes effect quickly and dissipates rapidly once the mask is removed. This enables a speedy recovery and seamless return to your regular routine.


4) Patient Cooperation: Patients who might otherwise struggle to sit still or cooperate due to anxiety can do so more easily under the effects of nitrous oxide sedation.


5) Adjustable Dosage: Our approach permits us to tailor the sedation level to ensure you’re optimally comfortable and relaxed throughout the procedure.


6) No Need for Injection: Inhalation sedation eliminates the need for injections, which we understand can be a potential source of anxiety for some patients.


7) Minimal Recovery Time: Since the effects wear off quickly, patients can often drive themselves home after the procedure.


8) No Lingering Effects: You won’t experience any residual grogginess or long-lasting effects after the sedation wears off, making it easier to resume normal daily activities.


9) Reduced Gag Reflex: The soothing impact of nitrous oxide aids in managing the gag reflex, making procedures more tolerable.


10) Positive Association with Dental Care: Positive encounters with inhalation sedation often translate into more positive perceptions of dental visits, fostering long-term oral health improvements.


“Will I Still Feel Pain During Treatment?”


While inhalation sedation doesn’t directly stop the pain, it will make you feel relaxed and happy during treatment. Anxiety can make pain feel worse. So, by calming anxiety, inhalation sedation lowers how much pain you feel, making the experience more comfortable.

Moreover, inhalation sedation can enhance the effectiveness of local anaesthesia. When you’re calm and less anxious, the anaesthesia functions more efficiently, reducing discomfort during the procedure.


Final Word:


Inhalation sedation is a fantastic alternative to intravenous sedation for those who fear needles. This therapy involves inhaling a carefully balanced mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen through a soft nasal mask, which induces a soothing and comforting sensation, making dental care and treatments feel less scary and overwhelming.

With this technique, we aim to redefine your dental visits, turning them into transformative moments that lead to a brighter and healthier smile. 

If you would like to schedule a consultation with our skilled and compassionate team, please get in touch with us at 01604 604545. During this consultation, you can discuss any concerns or questions regarding sedation or your upcoming treatment with our dental team. Additionally, we will perform a routine health check and gather necessary medical information to determine if sedation therapy is appropriate for you.

Just breathe! Your journey to anxiety-free dental care starts here at Cliftonville Dental.

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