Many people feel nervous about going to the dentist, and it’s usually because they’re worried about dental treatments being painful. At The Dental Practice, we understand this common fear. That’s why we offer nitrous oxide during dental treatments to help relieve pain and reduce feelings of anxiety.
Is dental anxiety common?
According to a study by the Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health, 1 in 6 Australian adults and 10 percent of children say they have some fear about visiting the dentist. Five percent of the population say they have a more serious dental phobia that could mean they avoid seeing the dentist.
If anxiety about dental treatments means you postpone or cancel your regular check-ups, this actually makes it more likely that you could need a corrective procedure in the future. Seeing your dentist every six months helps to lower your risk of developing serious oral health problems, as this gives your dentist the chance to catch problems at an early stage when they may be easier to treat.
What is nitrous oxide?
Nitrous oxide (sometimes called ‘laughing gas’) has been used for pain relief during routine dental treatments since 1844. Today it’s the most popular method of inhaled sedation in dentistry, which can be used for many types of procedures from teeth cleaning to oral surgery.
Your dentist may recommend nitrous oxide if you’re worried about dental pain or if you want to reduce your anxiety and feel calmer during your treatment. As the level of sedative can be precisely controlled, nitrous oxide can be used during the entire treatment or only for part of it, as preferred by the patient.
How does it work?
If you request nitrous oxide during your appointment, we’ll make sure you feel comfortable in the chair and will fit a mask over your nose and mouth. We’ll then deliver the precise amount of nitrous oxide needed, combined with oxygen.
As you inhale the gas, it will enter your bloodstream and trigger the release of naturally occurring chemicals in your brain. These can cause you to feel calm and relaxed, as well as blocking most pain signals.
Is nitrous oxide safe?
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) recognises nitrous oxide inhalation sedation as a very safe technique that has minimal risks to a patient’s health, as long as it’s administered by a qualified dentist or anaesthetist.
This mild form of sedation is suitable for both adults and children. If you have a medical condition or you’re taking medication that could affect your suitability for nitrous oxide, your dentist could recommend other sedation options.
Will it affect my recovery?
One of the advantages of nitrous oxide over other sedatives is that it doesn’t impact on your recovery time following a dental procedure. You should feel back to normal within minutes of the mask being removed, and you can even drive home and return to your normal activities on the same day, depending on the type of treatment you’ve had.
Talk to a dentist in Bathurst
If you feel nervous or stressed about visiting the dentist, our team at The Dental Practice can help you. We offer nitrous oxide to help reduce pain and anxiety during your treatments, which over time could help you to develop positive associations with dental care.
 Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health. Dental fear and anxiety: Information for Dental Practitioners [Online] March 2016 [Accessed November 2017] Available from: https://www.adelaide.edu.au/arcpoh/dperu/special/dfa/Dental_Fear_Professional.pdf
 Australian Dental Association (ADA). Policy Statement 6.17 – Conscious Sedation in Dentistry [Online] April 2017 [Accessed November 2017] Available from: https://www.ada.org.au/Dental-Professionals/Policies/Dental-Practice/6-17-Conscious-Sedation-in-Dentistry/ADAPolicies_6-17_ConsciousSedationinDentistry_V1