Rewinding the Years: Dental Care Tips for Older Adults

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Rewinding the Years: Dental Care Tips for Older Adults

Once my children were grown and on their own, I decided it was time to care of me. One of the first things I did was make an appointment with the dentist. I quickly discovered that years of not keeping up with my own dental care had taken a heavy toll on my teeth. Whereas I thought my teeth were just fine, the dentist pointed out several problems that were going to require a lot of work. When talking to friends, I found out that many of them were in the same boat. This blog is for people like me who just did not have time to keep up with their own dental care.

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What To Expect From Laughing Gas

There are multiple sedatives that can be used to help minimize your anxiety during a dental procedure. .A dentist may use an oral, injected, or inhaled sedative to help you relax, feel less anxious, and remain still as you receive a dental treatment.

One of the most common sedatives used in sedation dentistry is laughing gas. Here is a bit of information about this widely used form of dental sedation to help you better understand it and know what to expect if you receive it in the future.

How Laughing Gas Works

Laughing gas is actually a chemical compound called nitrous oxide. The compound, which remains in a gaseous form at room temperature, has no color and does not readily ignite.

When inhaled, the gas replaces oxygen in the blood stream, causing the brain to produce a euphoric, calm sensation. The relaxed sense of well-being that you feel after inhaling laughing gas is the reason that the substance makes a great dental sedative.

Laughing gas is dispensed by your dentist from gas tanks at levels that are considered safe. To apply the sedative, the dentist places a comfortable mask over your nose and asks you to breathe deeply. 

The sedation from the gas occurs almost immediately and wears off relatively quickly.

How You Feel When You Receive Laughing Gas

When you receive laughing gas, you can expect to experience certain sensations, such as a tingly feeling in your extremities. Additionally, you may feel a bit warm just prior to the start of a sense of euphoria. Also, your ability to hear clearly may be affected. While the gas is in your system, you may notice a humming noise that may distort sounds.

Although the gas may make you feel sleepy, it will not render you unconscious. Be sure to alert your dentist in you start to feel a bit nauseous. Symptoms of nausea may occur if the amount of gas that you are receiving needs to be reduced a bit. As soon as the gas level is lessened, the nausea should quickly decline.

Who Makes a Great Candidate for Laughing Gas

Laughing gas is a great option for people who experience dental anxiety or who have to undergo a lengthy dental procedure. In addition, it works best for people who are comfortable with wearing a breathing mask over their nose and who have a clear nasal airway.

If you would like to receive dental sedation during your next dental visit, contact your dentist to learn whether or not laughing gas is right for you.