What is sedation?
You can be helped to feel relaxed by ‘relative analgesia’ sometimes known as inhalation sedation. This means breathing in a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen (‘laughing gas’) which quickly leads to a pleasant, relaxed feeling.
The dentist puts you at ease at the same time, by talking softly and suggesting what you feel. You remain conscious all the time, although you may be a little drowsy, and any treatment given causes you no discomfort.
You breathe in the mixture through a nosepiece, which is very comfortable. You can’t overdose on the gas, as the mixture quickly leaves the body if you breathe in one or two breaths of ordinary air. There are no after-effects either, and you can drive a car after about 15 minutes.
How does relaxation work?
When we are faced with a challenge or something we’re afraid of, such as a visit to the dentist, our bodies produce substances, which raise our anxiety. However, we can train our bodies to work against this anxiety, by learning to relax. It’s not possible to be anxious and relaxed at the same time, so learning relaxation helps control our anxiety.