August 26, 2022

Laughing Gas vs. IV Sedation


Sedation dentistry in Baltimore is often a key component in getting access to even the most basic dental services.

People with high levels of dental anxiety, who have difficulty sitting in the dentist’s chair, or who require large amounts of dental work often require sedation to help them remain calm and relaxed while the dentist improves their oral health.

However, many patients have lots of questions about sedation and its safety. This can also stem from a misconception as to what sedation dentistry is.

For instance, there are different types of sedation available, and they can have different effects entirely. One common form of sedation is nitrous oxide (laughing gas), but did you know it’s technically not considered a form of sedation dentistry?

There are huge differences between laughing gas and true forms of sedation dentistry such as IV sedation. Keep reading to find out more about this topic.

What Is Laughing Gas and How Does It Work?

Laughing gas is a compound commonly used as a mild sedative. Patients breathe in the gas through a special mask, and the effects kick in within just a few minutes. While under the effects of the gas, you will remain perfectly awake and be able to talk with the dentist.

Once the procedure is done, the dentist switches the gas for oxygen. Patients breathe in the air, and with every exhale they expel the gas entirely from their system.

By the end, the patients are fully conscious and no longer under the effects of the sedation. They can even drive themselves home after the appointment.

What Is IV Sedation and How Does It Work?

IV sedation is a stronger type of sedative only under very specific circumstances and administered by licensed professionals. 

Unlike laughing gas, which can be used even for minor procedures, IV sedation is most often recommended for complex and lengthy oral surgeries. The sedatives are administered constantly throughout the procedure through an IV placed in your arm. This sedation is so effective that many patients don’t even remember their surgery at all.

Through the procedure, your vital signs are constantly kept under supervision. Not only that, but if you do require IV sedation, the dentist will first need to assess your medical history in order to determine if IV sedation is the right option for you.

It’s worth noting that with IV sedation, it can take longer for the effects to fully go away. You will need a friend or family member to drive you home after your appointment, and generally avoid driving or using power tools for at least a day.

Book an Appointment at Waterfront Dental

Waterfront Dental provides patients with sedation options to help them gain access to the dental services they need to get a healthy and happy smile.

To improve your oral health, book a consultation with Baltimore dentist Dr. Dawn Merguerian today.

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