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Laughing Gas VS Sedation

Most of us don’t really know what the differences of these dental methods are. Well, it is pretty simple on the basic level, but sedation have some variances in terms of how they are administered and their level of consciousness.

Let’s get the primary differences outlined. Laughing gas (Nitrous Oxide) is used to calm down the patient while still being awake, where as sedation is are designed to produce partial complete conscious knock out as if you were asleep. As you can imagine, these two are very different to experience as a patient.

According to wikipedia, Nitrous oxide has been used in dentistry and surgery, as an anaesthetic and analgesic, since 1844. Nitrous Oxide is a rapid and highly effective analgesic gas often used to calm down kids to ease the fear of needles and drills and the general the uncomfortable invasive sensation of having fingers in the mouth. There are different scents, from pineapple, bubble gum, and mint to inhale. The gas is administered as soon as the patient sits in the chair via mask that emits a safe a precisely dosed and breath-actuated flow of nitrous oxide mixed with oxygen in a 2:1 ratio. The sensation of floating and happiness maintained while the patient is kept conscious throughout the procedure, and retains adequate mental faculties to respond to questions and instructions from the dentist. In most cases, patients can simply request this in advance of any dental visit.

Sedation is available in two primary delivery methods, oral (partial consciousness) and intravenous (unconscious).

The oral option is administered over the course of 24 hours

The patient takes a small pill the night before the dental appointment. A companion typically will accompanies you. By the time the patient arrives a feeling relaxation will have set in. Upon arrive the patient will be escorted to a treatment room and will be given another pill and covered with a nice warm blanket and placed on a monitor to watch vital signs for about an hour, the the dentist will take care of the patients dental needs. This conscious sedation enables the patient to maintain a level of control without being knocked out. Phobias of unconsciousness can be addressed by this method as the patient is still awake, but out of it.

Intravenous sedation is the most invasive as the is a complete level unconsciousness for patient and requires a significant amount of post visit coordination. I.V. Sedation is recommended for a wide variety of patients:

  • Apprehensive adults
  • Very young children with a lot of dental work to be done
  • Children with special needs
  • Adults with time restrictions and large treatment plans that would normally take many dental appointments
  • Anxious Adults with complicated medical history

Being unconscious takes a significant amount of trust to agree to. You have to know who will be around you at all times and that you are safe from not being able to defend yourself.

Regardless of your requirements, Dr, Mary Lou Campbell ensures that patients are treated with the utmost care and respect. To get a consultation call Fairmont Dentistry at 604-872-2941