If you have dental anxiety, visiting a dentist who offers sedation can be a life-changing experience. People who struggle with dental anxiety and have extensive treatment needs greatly benefit from sedation and often can receive more treatment than usual in a single visit. At the Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, our dentists offer two levels of sedation.

  1. The Effects of Nitrous Oxide

Often referred to as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide has been a standard in dental practices for decades. It’s an odorless, colorless gas that is administered a few minutes before treatment. It takes effect almost immediately. Despite the name “laughing gas,” you probably won’t feel giggly, but you will have a sense of calm and relaxation. The gas is administered throughout treatment. At the end of your procedure, your dentist will provide you with pure oxygen, which quickly reverses the effects of nitrous oxide. You’ll be safe to drive home and resume normal activities.

Can You Eat Before Receiving Nitrous Oxide?

Many people associate nitrous oxide with nausea, but studies show nausea isn’t a side effect until you’ve been receiving the gas for at least 45 minutes. And not everyone becomes nauseous. The likelihood of experiencing nausea increases every hour you’re receiving the gas. Most dental patients receive nitrous oxide for less than 45 minutes. However, if you’re having extensive dental work done or are sensitive to nitrous oxide, you might become nauseous.

Most dental practices will tell you not to eat for at least a few hours before receiving nitrous oxide. Or they might suggest that you only eat light meals. At the Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, your sedation dentist will give you instructions in advance of your appointment

  1. The Effects of Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral conscious sedation (OCS) works well for people with higher levels of anxiety. With OCS, you’ll take medication before your appointment, and your dentist might give you a dose when you arrive. At the Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, your dentist will choose medication based on his or her experience and your medical history. OCS is not intended to make you sleep, but you’ll likely fall into a very deep state of relaxation, yet still be able to converse. Some people feel as if they are asleep or dreaming. You’ll need a ride to and from your appointment, and someone should to stay with you at home for the remainder of the day.

You Shouldn’t Eat Before an OCS Appointment

Most oral conscious sedation medications are safe to take on an empty stomach and some even require it. Eating can affect how your body processes the medication. Nausea is a common side-effect of most of the medications. For this reason, most doctors will suggest that you schedule your OCS appointment in the morning and not eat anything at all the day of treatment. After treatment, you will be able to eat as soon as you feel comfortable doing so. It’s generally best to eat light foods, such as broths, soups, and Jell-O because they are mild on your stomach, and your mouth will still be numb after the appointment.

It’s rare for anyone to become sick in the dental chair. However, each sedation dentist has his or her own guidelines on eating before treatment.

  1. The Importance of a Consultation with a Sedation Dentist

If dental anxiety or an extensive treatment plan are preventing you from achieving the smile you deserve, dental sedation can help. Your medical history, level of anxiety, and dental procedure impact which type of sedation is recommended for you. Certified by the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation (DOCS), Dr. Debra Gray King regularly helps patients like you. She would be glad to meet with you to discuss your concerns and create a plan for your treatment.

If you are interested in discussing your options for sedation dentistry, contact us to request a consultation with one of our dentists at the Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry.