Somerville patients should not be ashamed of being afraid of pain or experiencing panicky reactions when faced with dental treatment. They are realistic reactions to certain situations, and many Somerville-area general and cosmetic dentists have responded to the need of their patients.
Nitrous Oxide Sedation
The next method of sedation, "inhalation sedation", involves inhaling a mixture of nitrous oxide and pure oxygen, commonly called, "nitrous." The normal dosage is thirty percent nitrous oxide and the rest oxygen.
Nitrous oxide is inhaled through a nasal hood or mask that fits over the nose, or through nasal prongs (cannula) that are inserted into the nose. It only takes about twenty to thirty seconds for the patient to feel the effects of the nitrous oxide.
The greatest advantage of inhalation sedation is the fact that it can be raised or lowered by the dentist, as needed, and the sedation wears off shortly after the mask is taken away. Since oxygen is included in the sedative cocktail, it can be used throughout the duration of the dental treatment and rules out the possibility of the sedative wearing off mid-procedure as sometimes happens with either IV or oral sedation.
Additionally, there are no lingering effects of the gas, unlike the common "hangover" feeling from other techniques. A few patients have been known to feel lightheaded when the gas is first administered, but this is only temporary. Patients treated under "nitrous" can be released on their own recognizance since the sedativeâ€™s effects diminish almost as soon as inhalation stops.
Does inhalation sedation have any disadvantages? There are few contraindications for the use of inhalation sedation, because those who provide it as a treatment alternative must undergo extensive training, and because there are no known lingering side effects or allergies to the gas. Women in the first trimester of pregnancy can choose this method of sedation, and it presents no danger to anyone with heart, lung, kidney or liver problems.
Somerville patients planning to be sedated will need to be driven home by an adult because they will not be allowed to drive for at least 18-24 hours following the procedure, and they will need to rest for the rest of the day.