Did you know that there are various levels and types of sedation available to patients during dental procedures? Nitrous oxide and general anesthesia are both used at Winning Smiles for dental treatment, however they differ greatly in both the way they are administered and the effects they create.

Nitrous oxide, sometimes called, “laughing gas,” is one option your dentist may offer to help make you more comfortable during certain procedures. It is not intended to put you to sleep, but rather, will allow you to hear and respond to any requests or directions the dentist may have. Your dentist will ask you to breathe normally through your nose, inhaling a steady stream of both nitrous oxide and oxygen, and within a few short minutes you should start to feel the effects of the gas. 

Once the effects of the nitrous oxide kick in, you may feel light-headed or a tingling in the arms and legs. Some people say their arms and legs feel heavy. Ultimately, you should feel calm, comfortable, and relaxed for your dental procedure. 

The effects of nitrous oxide wear off soon after the mask is removed. (Find out more information here!) Below are some facts about the nitrous oxide sedation that Winning Smiles provides.

  • There are no lasting effects. Because it’s a gas, once it is exhaled from the body the patient is able to get up and walk from the chair on their own.
  • The nose pieces come in fun “flavors”such as bubble gum, cherry, grape and more.
  •  It is ideal for patients of all ages with special needs or behavioral concerns, very young children, and both children and adults with anxiety or nervousness about visiting the dentist. Individuals with a strong gag reflex often benefit from nitrous during cleaning procedures as well.

General anesthesia is a stronger method of sedation and is intended to put the patient to sleep for dental treatment. It is most often used for very young children that require treatment, patients (children and adults) with large amounts of treatment that wish to complete the treatment plan in a short period of time, as well as patients with special needs or behavioral concerns.

General anesthesia makes the patient both unconscious and unable to feel pain during medical procedures. General anesthesia for dental treatment is administered intravenously, allowing the doctor to fully guard the airway from materials used during treatment. The “sleep” you experience under general anesthesia is different from regular sleep. The anesthetized brain does not respond to pain signals, allowing the doctor to complete the treatment efficiently. An anesthesiologist is a specially trained doctor who specializes in all types of anesthesia, including general anesthesia. After the patient is asleep (unconscious), the body’s vital functions are monitored and breathing is assisted and controlled. For more information about general anesthesiaclick here

General anesthesia in a hospital setting: Winning Smiles works closely with Women and Children’s Hospital to provide a safe environment for dentistry (by Winning Smiles doctors) under general anesthesia in a hospital setting. In a hospital setting, the anesthesiologist, nurses, and assistants are employed by Women and Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Steven Nguyen, board certified dentist anesthesiologist, administers general anesthesia right at Winning Smiles. Dr. Nguyen’s credentials as both a dental provider, as well as an experienced and accomplished anesthesiologist deem him highly qualified to administer to dental patients at Winning Smiles. For more information about Dr. Nguyen, click here. To learn more about sedation options, or to schedule a consultation with a dentist, call us today! 716.332.2444