One of the main reasons patients avoid needed dental treatment is fear. Usually this is due to either some past traumatic experience or a current overwhelming imagination of the needes procedures.
I’ve seen patient’s reactions to instructional videos on dental implants. Because it involves bone,
patients automatically assume this is going to be painful. Most of the time, these fears can be
minimized by educating the patient about the procedure. They visually are relieved to know that
bone itself has no “feeling”. All of the surrounding tissue does, though. In addition, there is some
vibration and sound to the hand piece that prepares the proposed site(s) for the implants. This is
very tolerable to most patients. Some, however, need some form of sedation to make them
comfortable though-out the treatment.
Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) can often be used to provide enough relaxation to proceed through
the treatment. It is extremely safe and reversible. This means that as long as the patient
breathes through the nose piece, they will have the desired effect. If the patient gets took
relaxed and starts to breathe through their mouth, the effect will be reduced. Usually, coaching
the patient on their breathing will keep them at a stable level of relaxation.
Even in this long term, time proven procedure, there have been advancements to make it work
better. The most significant one is the mask and tubing. In the past, a large mask was placed
over the nose which could make the patient feel claustrophobic and it limited the vision of the
operator. Now, there is a much smaller device with an inner tub that delivers a positive flow of
the gas. The patient does not have to work at their breathing so much and the much smaller
size is comfortable and less threatening.
A deeper form of relaxation is in the form of what is termed conscious sedation. After a pre-
treatment “sedation work-up”, the patient is given some medications to take the night prior to the
scheduled appointment. Upon arrival, additional medications can be administered to provide the
proper sedation level for treatment. Nitrous Oxide is also used to administer the local anesthetic.
This incremental administration of medications is one of the safest forms of sedation as
complete unconsciousness is necessary. The added bonus is that following the procedure, the
patient has no memory of the treatment.
If you feel that dental implants would benefit you and are afraid to even think about the
procedure, conscious sedation and/or Nitrous Oxide are great aides to help you get what you